Ecuador is now one of the world’s top five cocoa producers, the country’s cocoa export group announced last month.
“The results obtained by the cocoa sector are due to good coordination between public and .private (players) in the cocoa (production) chain,” said Ivan Ontaneda, head of the National Association of Cocoa Producers of Ecuador (Anecacao).
Speaking to the newspaper El Universo, Ontaneda said that Ecuadorian farmers produced 240,000 tons of cocoa in 2014 – most of which was sold in international markets.
Ontaneda added that Ecuador’s reputation for producing the world’s best cocoa, the raw ingredient for chocolate, has created strong demand. Ecuadorian chocolate has won several international competitions in recent years for best quality.
The figure would mean that Ecuador has overtaken Cameroon as the world’s fifth largest cocoa producer.
In September, Cameroon’s cocoa authority reported 2014 output was just below 210,000 tons – an 8 percent drop from the previous year.
Speaking to Reuters, Omer Gatien Maledy, head of Cameroon’s Cocoa and Coffee Inter-professional Board, said production had been hampered by poor weather and disease.
“The rainy season last year was very different from what Cameroon is used to, going on until mid-December and resulting in the black pod disease,” said Maledy.
Cameroon’s cocoa production has stumbled since peaking in 2011 at 240,000 tons. Comparatively, world production is around 3.5 million tons per year.
Despite overtaking Cameroon, Ecuador’s cocoa production remains dwarfed by top producers Ivory Coast, Indonesia and Ghana. Combined, Ghana and Ivory Coast produce around half of the world’s cocoa.
Earlier this year cocoa prices spiked amid fears that both African countries could face Ebola outbreaks, though prices have normalized since Ivory Coast imposed heavy restrictions on border crossings aimed at keeping the disease at bay.