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Cocoa represents the archetypal agroprocessing challenge: African countries dominate cocoa bean production, representing 69% of total volumes in the 2009/10 season, but have a far lower share of basic intermediate processing (also known as “grinding”) and a negligible share of the manufacture of chocolate. As a result, African countries dominate a $9bn a year commodity market, while forgoing a consumer goods production opportunity estimated to be worth $87bn a year.
The cocoa value chain is characterized by a highly consolidated and vertically integrated group of players that spans multiple activities, from the initial grinding of beans to the industrial manufacture of chocolate (or “couverture”) and, in some cases, through to the final manufacture of retail chocolate. For African policy-‐makers, any substantive policy will need to take into account how to work with these players to influence the future growth and distribution of global processing and manufacturing.