The use of imports and exports among countries contributes largely to the growth of the economy. Importing and exporting products allows for the creation of jobs and it connects countries through the concept of trade. Places and countries are interconnected through cocoa production and demand as it creates networks of trade and economic interdependence. Networks are created due to the trade of cocoa beans between importing and exporting regions. There is a large interdependence between cocoa producing countries and cocoa manufacturing countries. There are between 5 and 6 million cocoa farmers worldwide and over 40-50 million people depend on cocoa for their livelihood. While cocoa production creates jobs for people working on the cocoa farms in developing countries, other jobs are created from importing and exporting cocoa beans in both importing and exporting countries. These jobs include: labourers, administrators, truck and car drivers, shipping companies, dock and railway workers, chocolate producing companies, chocolate shop owners and confectionary company employees as well as retailers and buyers.
It can be found that the main exporters of cocoa beans are usually also the main producers of cocoa beans. The table below shows the top ten major exporting countries of cocoa products. The country that exports the largest amount of cocoa is Cate d'Ivoire and the tenth largest country that exports cocoa is Malaysia.
Source: COMTRADE, United Nations
Although cocoa is largely produced and exported in developing countries, the main consumers and importers of these products are in industrialized countries. The graph below shows the main consuming countries of cocoa beans and other cocoa products. These main consuming countries are also the main importers of cocoa beans.
Source: UNCTAD based on the data from International Cocoa Organization, quaterly bulletin of cocoa statistics
Below is a choropleth map showing the countries where two major organisations import and export chocolate. The organisations are: International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) and the Alliance of Cocoa Producing Countries (COPAL).