What Food Has Increased in Demand 3%/Year -- for the Past 100 Years??

May 14 2009

It's probably not what you think. 

A couple of facts: Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana and Indonesia produce 72% of the world's supply; 40-50 million people depend on this crop for their livelihood.

And a problem: fungus, insects, drought and diseases affect more than one third of this crop, costing an estimated $700 million/year. 

Which crop is it? What's being done to reduce the damage?

The crop is the fragile cocoa plant, which takes five years before it produces its first bean pods.

Three entities are joining together to uncover genetic patterns could help farmers improve the quality and quantity of their plants. They are:

IBM, the world's largest commercial lab

Mars, the world's largest chocolate company

USDA's Agricultural Research Service

The neat part about this partnership effort is that the research results will not be patented. Instead, the results will be made freely available through Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA), an agency supporting agricultural innovation.

Category: Now You Know
Filed under: Food/Nutrition, Insects, Poverty, Developing Areas