Where Cocoa Beans Are Grown

Cocoa beans are grown in a narrow band around the equator in all the world’s tropical regions. Some places grow more than others, and some are known for growing higher-quality cocoa beans. Here’s a guide to where you can find cocoa beans, along with some background on why each region produces cocoa.


Africa is the second-largest producer of cocoa beans in the world, producing more than half of the world’s cocoa beans. Africa is divided into two main regions: West Africa and East Africa. The tropical rainforests of West Africa are home to some of the highest concentrations of cocoa trees on earth, but they are under threat from deforestation—and this is where many smallholder farmers who grow and harvest cocoa live.


Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of cocoa beans. The country has been producing cocoa for more than 500 years, and today its exports account for nearly 25 percent of the world’s total production; it also ranks as the third-largest producer in terms of mass volume. Ecuador is located in the tropics, which means that temperatures are warm year-round (average high/low temperatures range from 23°C/15°C to 28°C/21°C).

The Incas cultivated coca leaves on their territory as early as 200 AD, but they were not native to South America—they were brought over by travelers from other continents who learned how valuable they were as stimulants and medicinal herbs. When the Spanish arrived at what would become known as Ecuador, they found natives chewing both coca leaves and chocolate beans; though these two substances are not related botanically or chemically, they share a similar history because both originated in Central America before being imported into South America by Europeans.

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Central and South America

Cocoa beans are grown in a number of tropical countries, including Brazil and Ecuador. Brazil is the world’s largest producer of cocoa beans, but Ecuador has taken second place in recent years.

The Amazon rainforest covers much of northern South America, where it provides shelter for thousands of plant species as well as animals like jaguars and howler monkeys. Cocoa trees thrive there because they love wet weather; they need more than 150 inches (381 centimeters) of rainfall every year!

Indonesia and Southeast Asia

The world’s largest producer of cocoa beans is Indonesia. This country has a long history with the crop, and its production is expected to continue on an upward trend in coming years. As one of the most populous nations in Southeast Asia, Indonesia also offers a cheap labor force for growing cacao trees and processing them into chocolate products. And because it has a tropical climate that is ideal for growing cacao plants, Indonesia is well positioned to become an important player on global markets for cocoa beans—and this means you’ll see more Indonesian-made products at your favorite grocery stores!


Mexico is the largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans. It accounts for 40% of world production, making it the world’s largest producer of chocolate as well. Mexico also imports a large amount of cocoa beans, making it the biggest importer in the world. It imports about one-third of all cocoa beans traded internationally.

Cocoa beans are grown in a narrow band around the equator, but some regions grow more than others.

How Cocoa Beans Grow And Are Harvested Into Chocolate | HuffPost Life

Cocoa beans are grown in a narrow band around the equator, but some regions grow more than others.

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Why? Because climate determines where cocoa can be grown. A lot of factors go into this, including temperature and rainfall patterns, elevation, humidity and soil type (to name only a few). The cool, moist climate required for cocoa cultivation is found in tropical or subtropical regions between 5 degrees north and south of the equator—a boundary sometimes known as “the Tropic of Cocoa.” Cocoa trees don’t do well in warm climates because they struggle to survive long enough to produce fruit; they need around 7 months with temperatures between 18°C (64°F) and 25°C (77°F).

The world of cocoa is a fascinating place with many different cultures and climates. These beans grow in a narrow band around the equator, but some regions grow more than others. As we talked about earlier, this is because of the climate and the soil conditions that are required for cultivation. This means that most beans come from Africa (54%), followed by Latin America (28%), with India bringing up third at 9%. The rest come from Indonesia and Southeast Asia at 7%, Mexico as 1%, and New Guinea as 0.1%. Well, I guess that’s what keeps them so special!

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