Climate change has jeopardized the very existence of chocolate: according to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a temperature rise of 2.1 degrees centigrade could leave humanity without chocolate by the year 2050.
Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, the two major cocoa exporters, each have the necessary climate conditions for the cocoa plant to grow and thrive, including an appropriate humidity level and temperature. The rise in temperatures will lead to a loss of ground moisture and destroy the chocolate industry.
Concerned farmers have been looking for alternatives to relocate cocoa production to more mountainous terrain, which, according to scientists, may ruin ecosystems that have already been suffering from deforestation and illicit farming.
Doug Hawkins of the London-based research firm Hardman Agribusiness told The Mail Online that the problem is that the cocoa farming methods haven’t changed for hundreds of years.
"Unlike other tree crops that have benefited from the development of modern, high yielding cultivars and crop management techniques to realize their genetic potential, more than 90% of the global cocoa crop is produced by smallholders on subsistence farms with unimproved planting material."
Scientists from the University of California at Berkley joined forces with the famous American confectionery manufacturer Mars in a bid to avert possible impacts on chocolate production. Using a special gene-editing technology, CRISPR, they might be able to develop a cocoa plant capable of surviving in drier conditions.