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International Internet Magazine. Baltic States news & analytics Saturday, 08.08.2020, 08:46

The economic impact of agricultural production from climate change (cocoa) in Côte d'Ivoire

Christian Agnimel Agro, Baltic International Academy, faculty of Regional economy and Economic policy, Riga, 16.07.2020.Print version
On the eve of the UN climate summit, the IPCC has just published a 400-page report on climate change by making an unprecedented appeal on climate change to which the intergovernmental group urgently invites us to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. The report indicates dramatic consequences of global warming in Africa.

According to the 2015 Climate Change Vulnerability Index, seven of the ten countries most at risk from climate change are in Africa. Africa has now been put on the "red list." However, we can already feel the consequences of global warming in Africa, affecting health, livelihoods, food production, water availability and supply, global security, agriculture, and food and finally on ecosystems.


The cocoa tree is nowadays cultivated on all continents at intertropical latitudes. Even more than coffee, it requires a warm climate all year round (from 23 to 28 ° C) and very humid most of the year, with annual precipitation of at least 1,500 to 2,000 millimeters. Because of its great sensitivity to water stress, its cultivation is often practiced under the shade and the protection of higher trees of the tropical forest.


In Ivory Coast the climate is tropical, with a dry season from December to February, and a rainy season from April to October, due to the African monsoon. Along the coast, the rains are quite abundant also in March and November, and even in December on the most western part (see San Pedro, Tabou).

Precipitation is more abundant on the coast, where it ranges from 1,500 to 2,500 millimeters per year, while in the interior areas it is generally less intense, and ranges from 1,200 to 1,500 mm, even if it reaches 2 000 mm in the small western mountainous area.


During the winter, the weather is good and temperatures are high throughout the country, even in December and January, when the highs oscillate around 30 degrees on the coast and 32/34 ° C in the interior areas. In the interior areas the humidity is low, since the prevailing wind, the “harmattan”, blows from the desert, bringing the dust which can cloud the sky and create a typical mist.


From February, the temperature begins to rise in the interior areas, easily reaching 40 degrees. On the coast the temperature is more stable, even if the increases and therefore also the sensation of sweltering heat. In April, showers become more frequent along the coast, while in the north the temperature can reach up to 45 degrees. Between April and May, the rains reach the whole country, but they become monsoon only along the coast, where in May and June exceed 200 mm, but often also 400 mm. Even cloud cover is more frequent and compact in the south and along the coast, while in the north the thunderstorms alternate with cloudbanks accompanied by showers.


If in the north the rains reaching the maximum between July and September, in the center-south and along the coast there is a decrease in observations, especially in August and in the central and eastern part of the coast, then they called for new from September to November, but at lower levels than the May and June photos. However, along the coast, the sky remains cloudy even at this time of the year.

The period from June to September is also the one when the daytime temperatures are lower, since they drop around 28/30 degrees in the interior regions and 26/28 degrees on the coast; on the other hand, the humidity is very high everywhere, even if on the coast on feeling the beneficial breath of the breeze.


Between late October and November, with the end of the rainy season, daytime temperatures rose again in the interior areas, while rains persist on the coast.

African agriculture threatened

The continent's agriculture, which already suffers from its dependence on rain-fed irrigation, poor soil quality and outdated techniques and practices, risks being hit hard as drought and floods will expand, temperatures and growing seasons will change, and herders and shepherds will be forced to leave their land.

Rising temperatures are also likely to cause the polar ice caps to melt, causing ocean levels to rise and threatening the coasts and islands of the planet, particularly the low-lying islands and coastal areas of Africa. the east, which are likely to be frequently flooded or permanently submerged.


Warming waters could also affect hurricanes and other severe ocean storms, increasing their strength and frequency. Fishing activities in coastal areas and their fragile ecosystems could also suffer from a possible rise in sea levels.

Such a scenario would constitute a humanitarian and economic disaster on a continent where agricultural activities represent 70% of jobs and are often the engine of national economies, sources of export earnings, industrial raw materials and low-cost foodstuffs. Studies predict that by 2030, farmers in some countries will only harvest 50% of their current production. The fishing industry is also likely to suffer from the drying up of lakes and rivers and the disappearance of commercial fish species.


Ivory Coast is by far the world's leading producer of cocoa. Its rank has also strengthened over the past decade since in 2003/04, it represented 38% of world production and 41.7% in 2004/05. At the end of the decade of political crises and wars, the new regime in place wanted to reform the sector, which was done in 2011/12. A mechanism for early average sales started in January 2012 with two auctions per day by electronic mail, enabling a return to a policy of minimum price guaranteed to the planter representing 60% of the CIF price. A research policy, particularly against diseases, has been launched.

Table 1. Ivorian cocoa production according to world production over the past 15 years














World production












Ivory Coast












Overall, we have witnessed, over the past 10 years, a strengthening of the geographic concentration of the production. Ivory Coast is gaining momentum and should represent, according to ICCO forecasts, 41.7% of world production in 2014 against 35% in 2010 and 38% in 2004.


First of all, there is no doubt that global warming is causing meteorological changes. Even stronger heat waves are to be feared, with intense droughts what could be the cause of the drop in cocoa production in Ivory Coast and in the next 10 years.


Global warming brings changes in the distribution of precipitation, but also dries up the rivers, melts the glaciers where the water masses recede. Floods and droughts have doubled in the past 25 years.


In addition, food yields and livestock productivity have decreased due to heat waves and floods.


We remember that if the Ivory Coast is in decline in cocoa production, this will have an influence on the production of chocolate worldwide,


The consequences of climate change are already being felt, but they will worsen. Global warming has caused temperatures to rise about 1 ° C above pre-industrial levels. Every half degree (and even less) of global warming counts. The countries of the tropical zone of Africa like ivory coast will be the most affected.


It is important to remember that no list of consequences of climate change can be exhaustive. It is highly likely that heat waves will become more frequent and longer and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The oceans will continue to warm and acidify, and the global water level will continue to rise. All of these will, and are already beginning to have, devastating consequences on human lives.



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