Bad news for chocolate lovers

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If you love chocolate, we suggest you stock up now because top bods are warning of a cocoa crisis.

New research states there is a “spiral of decline” in cocoa production.

The report by Hardman Agribusiness, called Destruction by Chocolate, has blamed “17th century” farming practices for failing to keep up with supplies.

Managing director Doug Hawkins, author of the report, said: “Asian cocoa production is in a spiral of decline, African cocoa production cannot be described as sustainable and only in the Americas is a vibrant, progressive cocoa culture developing which offers the hope of a sustainable, reliable supply of high quality cocoa.

The study found that the typical Western consumer eats 286 chocolate bars on average each year, requiring suppliers to plant ten cocoa trees for every sweet-toothed person.

More than 90 per cent of the global cocoa crop is produced by smallholders or subsistence farms but farming techniques “have not changed in hundreds of years”.