10 World's Biggest Producers of Cocoa Beans

Top 10 World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries

There are 10 World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries According to Data released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) / World Food and Agriculture Agency of the United Nations (UN) in 2021. So far, cocoa (Theobroma cacao) is one of the world’s important crops because Processed seeds of this plant can be processed into chocolate which is in demand by many people from all over the world.

Top 10 World's Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries - 10 Biggest of All

The cacao plant / Theobroma cacao is one of the world’s most important plantation crops originating from South America. Theobroma comes from Greek which means food of the gods, while Cacao comes from the Mesoamerican language which describes the bean of the cocoa tree. Taxonomically, this plant is one of the Malvaceae plant family. Basically, it has close relation with another species durian (Durio zibethinus), Hibiscus cannabinus, cotton (Gossypium hirsutum), okra (Abelmoschus esculentus).

Top 10 World's Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries- King of Cocoa Bean

In terms of species diversity, there are several types of cocoa plants that are widely grown in the world, namely Criollo, Forastero, and Trinitario Cocoa (Criollo and Forastero Crosses). Until now, many countries in the world are cultivating this plant because of the increasing demand from year to year, especially for the world’s cocoa needs. Commonly, based on Worldwide database, the World production of Cocoa relatively increased from 1970 to 2021.
in 1970, the world production of Cocoa beans reached 3.5 million tonnes with harvested areas around
4.3 million hectares (ha). Furthermore, in 2021, It had increased into 5 million tonnes with harvested areas
around 11.5 million hectares.

The World’s Production and Harvested Areas of Cocoa Beans From 1970 to 2021

YearsHarvested AreasProduction of Cocoa Beans
(Hectare (Ha))(Tonnes)
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

Statistically, based on continent regions, the main area of cocoa beans production is in the Africa regions.
Basically, Africa regions generated 3.7 million of cocoa beans, followed by America region with production
around 991 thousand tonnes, and Asia with 769 thousand tonnes.

The World’s Production of Cocoa Beans Based on Continent in 2021

ContinentProduction of Cocoa Beans in 2021
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

Based on the country regions, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations issued a ranking of the world’s biggest cocoa bean producing countries in 2021. Here is the list of that rank.

Table Rank of Top 10 World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries in 2021

RanksCountryProduction of Cocoa Beans in 2021
1Côte d’Ivoire2,200,000
9Dominican Republic70,631
Source : FAOSTAT, 2023

Brief Description of 10 World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries in 2021

Top 10 World's Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries - Brief Description

1. Ivory Coast

Ivory Coast still became World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, based on data from the Food and Agriculture (FAO) publication, seed production reached 2.2 million tons. This production certainly supplies more than 30% of the world’s cocoa. Many of the world’s major chocolate companies buy Ivory Coast chocolate such as Cadbury, Hershey Company, and Nestle. These companies buy the country’s chocolate with a contract system (futures) on the Euronext Exchange, Europe. The main areas Cocoa production is in the Nawa region with, Tonkpi, Guemon, Cavally, Gbôkle, Gôh, Lôh-Djiboua, Indenie-Djuablin, Haut-Sassandra, San Pedro and Marahoue. Nearly 80% of farmers’ cocoa plantations are in forest zones, which are generally located in the southeast, south-west, and center-west areas. Most of the cocoa farmers in this country have land with an area of 1-3 hectares.

2. Ghana

Ghana is the second World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing country. Its production in 2021 reached 822 thousand tons. Initially, the world’s largest cocoa producer was Ghana, but since the 1970s, Ivory Coast has succeeded in replacing Ghana as the world’s largest cocoa producer.

Ghana’s cocoa production in forested areas. Cocoa’s main is in Ghana are Ashanti, Brong-Ahafo, Central Region, Eastern Region, Western Region, and Volta. In the system of commerce and trade, the Government of Ghana established the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), which is a government institution that aims to protect farmers from fluctuations in market prices.

3. Indonesia

Indonesia is the 3rd World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, production reached 728 thousand tons. Mostly, more than 90% of cocoa plantations are managed by farmers with an area of 0.5-1 hectares. In Indonesia, the total number of cocoa plantations is 1.6 million hectares.

In Indonesia, the main area of cocoa production is on the island of Sulawesi, namely in the provinces of Central, West, South, and Southeast Sulawesi. due to huge production of cocoa beans, Indonesia also exported its production to foreign countries such as Malaysia, the United States, India, and China in the form of Cocoa butter, fat and oil, Cocoa Paste, and cocoa beans.

4. Brazil

Brazil is the 4th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, total cocoa bean production reach 302.1 thousand tons with more than 580 thousand hectares of cocoa plantation in Brazil. Geographically, in Brazil, Southern of Bahia state is still the biggest cacao producer in Brazil, with 55 % of the country’s production, followed by Pará (39%), Rondônia (2%), Espírito Santo (2 %), and Amazonas (1.7%).

5. Ecuador

Ecuador is the next 5th world’s biggest cocoa-producing country. In 2021, the production of cocoa beans in this country reaches 302 thousand tons. Geographically, In Ecuador, cocoa bean production is concentrated in the Manabí, Los Ríos, and Guayas provinces, and accounts for about 80 percent of overall production. In 2015, the Planted cocoa area is estimated at 565,000 hectares. Due to their huge production, Ecuador also exported cocoa production to other countries. It is estimated that more than 100 thousand tons are exported to foreign countries as cocoa paste, butter, and others.

6. Cameroon

Cameroon is the 6th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, the yield of cocoa beans reached 290 thousand tons. In this country, cocoa was introduced in 1892 in the coastal areas of Cameroon and has grown to this day. By contribution, about 50% of cocoa in this country comes from the Southwest region of Cameroon, 35% comes from the Central Region, and 15% from the South region. In this country, cacao crops are intercropped with coffee, banana, and maize crops to increase land productivity.

7. Nigeria

Nigeria is the world’s 7th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, the production was 280 thousand tons. Cocoa cultivation in this country started in 1880 where a cocoa plantation was established in Lagos and later, several plantations were established in Agege and Ota and spread to several states in Nigeria. Until now after several centuries, the main states of cocoa cultivation are in the states of Ondo, Cross River, Ogun, Akwa Ibom, Ekiti, Delta, Osun, and Oyo. Agronomically, in this country, cocoa cultivation is dominated by small-scale farmers who manage crops with an area of about 2 hectares.

8. Peru 

Peru is the 8th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, total cocoa bean production reach 160 thousand tons.  Geographically, there are several regions of cocoa production. These areas include Cusco with a 33.1% share of the total cocoa production, Ayacucho (22.3%), Amazonas (12.6%) and Junín (9.9 %).

9. The Dominican Republic 

The Dominican Republic is the 9th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, total cocoa bean production reach 70 thousand tons. In this country, cocoa trees are planted in the forestry area. Almost 10% of the forested area in the country is intercropped with Theobroma cacao. Geographically, around 60% of the national production comes from the Northeastern region, especially around San Francisco de Macoris.

10. Colombia      

Columbia is the 10th World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Country. In 2021, total cocoa bean production reach 65 thousand tons. Geographically, there are the main regions of cocoa plantation in this country. The are with biggest cocoa plantations are Santander, Antioquia, Arauca, and Huia. Santander contributes 38% of cocoa Production, followed by Antioquia with 8,9% of cocoa production, Arauca with 8,3 % of production, and huia with8% of cocoa production.

Bibliography 10 World’s Biggest Cocoa Bean Producing Countries

Food and Agriculture Organization. 2019. Production of Cocoa, beans: top 10 producers Accessed via   http://www.fao.org/faostat/en/#data/QC/visualize

Amsterdam University of Applied Science.2018.  Towards A Sustainable Agro-Logistics In Developing Countries (The Case Of Cocoa’s Supply Chain In San Pedro Region/Côte D’ivoire) accessed via http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/735521553488355096/pdf/Towards-Sustainable-Agrologistics-in-Developing-Countries-Cocoa-Supply-Chain-in-Cote-D-ivoire.pdf

Wikipedia. 2020. Cocoa production in Ghana Accessed via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_production_in_Ghana

Direktorat Jenderal Perkebunan. 2020. Statistik Perkebunan Indonesia (2018-2020) Kakao Diakses melalui  http://ditjenbun.pertanian.go.id/?publikasi=buku-publikasi-statistik-2018-2020

Wikipedia. 2020. Cocoa production in Nigeria. Accessed via https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cocoa_production_in_Nigeria#:~:text=Cocoa%20production%20is%20important%20to,after%20Ivory%20Coast%20and%20Ghana.

Henry Vega and Mariano J. Beillard. 2015. Ecuador Cocoa Update and Outlook. USDA Foreign Agriculture Service.

CIBA. 2018. Southern of Bahia and Pará for Cacao. Accessed via https://www.ciba-network.org/study-sites/southern-of-bahia-and-para-for-cacao  on 8th August 2021.

Camara.2020. Cultivation Regions in Peru. Accessed via https://camcafeperu.com.pe/EN/cacao-peru.php  on 8 August 2021.

Colombia. 2021.Colombia, the land where cocoa production is ‘Cacao Fino de Aroma. Accessed via https://www.colombia.co/en/colombia-country/colombia-the-land-where-cocoa-production-is-cacao-fino-de-aroma/  on 8 August 2021.

cacaoteca.2019. Dominican Cacao. Accessed via https://www.cacaoteca.com/dominican-cacao.html   on 8 September 2021.

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