Saturday, March 2, 2013

Chocolate supply chain

Chocolate supply chain
In the process of coming up with chocolate, many steps and processes have to be put together in order to ensure that the product of high quality. Chocolate comes from cocoa beans which are planted by farmers. When the season is ripe and the cocoa beans are ready, they are harvested and packed in sacks from where they are sold to the intermediaries who buy from the farmers. These intermediaries are basically middlemen who buy on behalf of the processing factories and transport on their behalf too (Thomas 2011). The intermediaries then sell the cocoa beans to the cocoa processing plants from where they are manufactured and processed as per the specifications of the chocolate manufacturing companies. The semi complete product/work in progress is later sold to the chocolate makers who suitably convert it into a finished product, in relation to the different chocolate types and flavors. These are then purchased by retailers and wholesalers for sale to shops, vendors and other chocolate distributing outlets. Before the completion of the process it is clearly evidenced that the raw material which is cocoa beans is traded so many times. This is as a result of involving middlemen in the supply chain. Cocoa growing is however mostly done in the African countries, like the Cote d’Ivoire which is actually the world leading country in the growing of cocoa beans (Beckett 2011).
However, the supply chain of chocolate faces many issues among which are poor sustainability of the business in regards to quality of the product and quality of the product and the poor standards of living enjoyed by the farmers. This is because despite their efforts in making sure that they play their role as farmers, they receive a very minimal price or the cocoa therefore forcing them to decrease on the amounts that they plant (Thomas 2011). This leads to a cocoa industry that is not beneficial for all since some members in the supply chain are not earning as they should. Additionally there is a problem in the total out put that can be produced in relation to the product since it does not allow large scale growing. If it’s done as a single crop, the risk of crop disease would be so high that would eventually affect the sustainable output of the product (Beckett 2011).
Additionally since the price is low per out put to the farmers, they tend to shift to other modes of cultivation especially for products whose price is high; this therefore affects the sustainability of the crop.
In order to solve the above problems in the chocolate supply chain, it is essential to ensure that farmers get a better price for the coffee beans. This would be through sensitizing them on benefits of market information and how to carry it out. In addition, it is necessary that the coca industry carries out technological research in order to improve the framing practices and to increase the yields of the product. Since most of the African farmers practice subsistence farming methods and have no training on the modern farming methods, it is essential that they are trained so that thy can improve on their practices (Coyle et al 2008). Since the traditional growing of coca involves the use of middlemen on transportation to the cocoa processing plants, it is essential that the government sets a minimum price for the farmers so that they are not exploited by the middlemen.

Reference list
Beckett, S, T 2011, Industrial Chocolate Manufacture and Use, Newyork,Rouletdge.

Coyle, J, J, Langley, C, J, Gibson, B 2008, Supply Chain Management: A Logistics Perspective, Chicago, Cengage learning. -

Thomas, O 2011, Sustainable supply Chain management in the cocoa industry, Chicago, Grin verlag.