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Chocolate Crisis: Climate Change and Other Threats…
Chocolate Crisis: Climate Change and Other Threats…

This book discusses the problems posed by plant diseases, pests, and climate change, looking at what these mean for the survival of the cacao tree.

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By Dale Walters

Dale Walters is emeritus professor of plant pathology at Scotland’s Rural College. He is the author of many books, including Fortress Plant: How to Survive When Everything Wants to Eat You

Chocolate is the center of a massive global industry worth billions of dollars annually, yet its future in our modern world is currently under threat. In Chocolate Crisis, Dale Walters discusses the problems posed by plant diseases, pests, and climate change, looking at what these mean for the survival of the cacao tree.

Walters takes readers to the origins of the cacao tree in the Amazon basin of South America, describing how ancient cultures used the beans produced by the plant, and follows the rise of chocolate as an international commodity over many centuries. He explains that most cacao is now grown on small family farms in Latin America, West Africa, and Indonesia, and that the crop is not easy to make a living from. Diseases such as frosty pod rot, witches’ broom, and swollen shoot, along with pests such as sap-sucking capsids, cocoa pod borers, and termites, cause substantial losses every year. Most alarmingly, cacao growers are beginning to experience the accelerating effects of global warming and deforestation. Projections suggest that cultivation in many of the world’s traditional cacao-growing regions might soon become impossible.

Providing an up-to-date picture of the state of the cacao bean today, this book also includes a look at complex issues such as farmer poverty and child labor, and examines options for sustainable production amid a changing climate. Walters shows that the industry must tackle these problems in order to save this global cultural staple and to protect the people who make their livelihoods from producing it.

Chocolate Crisis: Climate Change and other Threats to the Future of Cacao

List of Figures

Acknowledgments

Prologue

List of Abbreviations

Author’s Note


Chapter 1.
Food of the Gods


Chapter 2.
Chocolate Can Be Good for You


Chapter 3.
Chocolate Is a Product of the Cacao Tree


Chapter 4.
Transforming Cacao Beans into Chocolate Bars


Chapter 5.
Small but Deadly


Chapter 6.
Witches’ Broom


Chapter 7.
Frosty Pod Rot


Chapter 8. Swollen Shoots


Chapter 9.
Vascular Trouble


Chapter 10.
Sap Suckers


Chapter 11.
Cacao Borers


Chapter 12.
Going Underground


Chapter 13.
Cacao, Shade, and Agroforestry


Chapter 14.
Cacao in a Changing Climate


Chapter 15.
Chocolate: Luxury and Livelihood

Glossary

References

Index

“This book covers a vast range of topics about the cacao tree, the farmers that grow it, the challenges they face, and its role in history and in the world economy. A lifetime or two of experience on the cacao trail is captured here.”
—Mark J. Guiltinan, Pennsylvania State University

Publish Date: 2021
Format: 6” × 9” hardcover
Pages: 207
Publication Weight: 2 lbs

By Dale Walters

Chocolate Crisis: Climate Change and other Threats to the Future of Cacao

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