A Guide to Trade Practices

image of Cocoa

This Guide describes trade and industry practices, as well as regulations applying to cocoa. It discusses customs procedures; systems and techniques used at each stage of the cocoa supply chain; trends in cocoa manufacturing and processing; electronic commerce; cocoa organic farming; fair trade; sustainable production; and environmental issues. It also provides a list of main sector-related trade and industry associations; and appendices that contain detailed statistical data and list of relevant Internet websites.

English French, Spanish


Historical development of cocoa supply

The cocoa plant is indigenous to the tropical rain forests of South and Central America and the origin of the genus Theobroma appears to have been to the east of the Andes. The earliest evidence of its use for culinary purposes is in the pre-Columbian era in Central America where the Mayan civilization prepared and consumed a chocolate-type drink. Later it became a favourite drink of the Aztec nation, in Central America. Its movement beyond this area, eventually to encompass the globe along the humid tropical belt, started with the Spanish conquest of the region in the sixteenth century. Chocolate subsequently became accepted in the Spanish court and later spread throughout Europe.

English French, Spanish

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