Cocoa trees only grow close to the equator - between 20 degrees north and 20 degrees south - and are quite fragile. They do well in temperatures of 20 to 32 degrees celsius, and like plenty of rainfall. 

 

They are relatively small trees that like some shade and humidity so are therefore found on the lower level of evergreen rainforests.

 

There aren't many places in the world where these ideal conditions exist. Well over half the world's total production is grown in two West African countries - Côte d'Ivoire (39%) and Ghana (19%). Other countries which produce significant quantities are Indonesia (13%), Nigeria (5%), Cameroon (5%) and Ecuador (*%).

 

Most cocoa farming is small scale. Around 95% of cocoa is grown in smallholdings of less than four hectares (10 acres) and is typically a family enterprise, much as it was 100 years ago. 

 

The whole process of growing, harvesting and drying the beans is usually not mechanised.

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