With West Africa’s 2014 cacao harvest just a few weeks away, could the “Ebola lockdown” ruin the global chocolate industry?
By: Ringo Bones
The world’s travel advisory powers-that-be had been telling everyone planning to visit Western African countries to avoid unnecessary trips in order to avoid catching or inadvertently spreading the Ebola virus, with the West African 2014 cocoa harvest just a few weeks away will the planned “Ebola lockdown” not only ruin local economies in West Africa like major cocoa / cacao producers like Ivory Coast but could eventually skyrocket global chocolate prices? Given what’s happening during the last few days in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Nigeria and the planned 4-day Ebola lockdown by Sierra Leone scheduled for September 18 to 21, it looks like Ebola could negatively affect all business activity within the region.
Even though Medicines Sans Frontiers have stated that the Ebola lockdown could only have a marginal effectiveness in halting the spread of Ebola within the region and to other parts of Africa, it seems that various governments in the region will be implementing their own lockdown procedures nonetheless. This spells doubly bad for the Ivory Coast where the entire country’s economy is virtually cocoa based and very dependent of not just buyers from nearby countries, but also of buyers overseas as well. It looks like the ongoing Ebola tragedy could have a negative impact on our upcoming Christmas chocolate consumption as well.