A Global Chocolate Shortage? Unless a way is found to cultivate cacao more efficiently, researchers predict a global shortfall of cacao beans in five to ten years.
The big problem is that the pollination rate of cacao plants is extremely low on traditional plantations, which are also plagued by diseases, expensive to run, and consume precious rain forest. Unresponsive to commercial cultivation methods, the cacao plant is closely tied to the tropical rain forest and the pollinators, herbivores, seed-dispersing species, and fungi that live there. This natural habitat is fertile, provides an inherent ecological "resistance" to disease, and is also home to the midges that are the cacao tree's sole pollinator.