The Cocoa Tree: New Threats It Faces

cacao tree drawingThe Cocoa Tree is one of the world’s most valuable commodities, because chocolate is one of the world’s favorite flavors. Besides craving the creamy and delicious tastes of chocolate bars and candies, we enjoy chocolate in hot beverages, cakes, pies, and puddings, and as a very popular flavoring in milk. Chocolate ice cream, along with all of its many collaborations with other flavors, is also a global favorite.

Perhaps surprising to some, Americans consume less chocolate per capita than many of their European counterparts. According to a 2015 Forbes Report, the Swiss lead the way with 19.8 lbs./capita. The United States only ranks 9th at 9.5 lbs/capita consumption.

Overall, the world consumed approximately 7.7 million metric tons of chocolate so far in 2018, according to Statistica.

Cocoa Trees are Under Threat

Scientists and other experts are predicting trends that may be threatening the healthy development of cocoa production. Chocolate is made from the beans of cocoa trees. Mostly, the cocoa trees thrive in hot and wet conditions within 10° of the Equator. Most of the global output is harvested in the West African countries of Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

Threats to future cocoa production come from several fronts. First, according to, several diseases are increasing the risks to overall cocoa bean output.

These are:

  • Black Pod Disease: A type of water mold, Phytophthora, blackens and kills the cocoa pods that contain the beans. The damaging spores are carried by wind and water as well as insects, bats, and rodents which cause the pods to rot.
  • Witches’ Broom is a fungus that stunts the growth of the flowers and pods.
  • Mirids are insects that feed on the trees, leaves, and branches and cause death.
  • Other threats are frosty pod riot, vascular streak dieback, and pod borer.

Long-term Threat: Global Warming

While these insects and fungi remain a growing threat to cocoa tree farmers, global warming represents a real long-term concern. Scientists are predicting that the change of climate will change the climate conditions required to grow cocoa and will create a substantial reduction in capacity.

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Why Trees Are the Key to a Better Landscape

tree importanceLandscape design tend to focus on grasses, edible plants, and flowers to attract pollinators, with trees being almost forgotten. The truth is that trees are an integral part of any landscape and may even be the most important aspect of a design. Trees provide social, environmental, economical, and communal benefits in any landscape, but consumers often aren’t aware of these advantages. Here are a few facts about trees that you can share with customers when they are making decisions about landscaping. Continue reading

How Does Investing in Your Community Grow Your Landscape Business?

community gatheringIt is a fact that socially responsible companies get more business. Whether they operate on a global scale or a local scale, companies that give back to their communities tend to grow faster and remain stable longer than the competition. If you run a landscape business, you are in a unique position to give back to your community. Chances are good that you want to invest in your community because you care about your neighbors and the place in which you live, but that doesn’t mean there can’t be secondary financial gain for your business. Here is why it is good for your bottom line when you invest in your local community. Continue reading

Profit With Your Own Nursery Farm

nursery farmProfit With Your Own Nursery Farm

In the springtime, your local garden center is packed with rows and rows of various varieties of trees, shrubs, and other plants, each ready for planting in a homeowner’s yard or garden area. Since those plants were certainly not on the lot during the fall and winter, you might ask, “Where did they come from?” Continue reading

Risk Management and Safety Training: Accidents Are Not a Cost of Doing Business

safety image Some people see accidents as unavoidable negative events that are simply a cost of doing business. The truth is that accidents are usually preventable through careful mitigation of risk and the implementation of system-level safety procedures. In fact, simply making employees aware of the risks they face during an average work day can help to improve safety and reduce injury on the job. Taking the time to educate employees on safety risks can also boost productivity, improve morale, and even reduce insurance premiums. Here are just a few of the benefits of safety training along with some examples of topics that are important to cover. Continue reading

Sharing a Podcast with Other Businesses Can Boost Your Company’s Market Value

podcast imagePodcasts have been around for a while now, but many businesses don’t leverage these audio tools to promote their businesses, building client connections, and establish their position in their industry. The truth is that podcasts, which are relatively cheap to produce, are a great way to get your company name out to others and build a reputation for your business. Here are just a few of the benefits that podcasts offer. Continue reading

5 Ways That Attending Trade Shows Can Improve Your Business

trade show prolineAttending a trade show is a perfect way to discover new developments in your industry and to learn about new ways to improve your business. While many people look at trade shows as an opportunity for vacation, for the serious business owner, they are an opportunity to grow and make valuable connections. Here are a few ways that trade shows can improve your business along with tips for getting the most out of your time at any show. Continue reading

How a Landscape License Can Boost Your Business

landscape license prolineAccording to the Professional Landcare Network (PLANET), the U.S. landscaping industry is worth about $61 billion annually when one takes into account landscape contractors along with lawn and tree specialists. What makes this number unique is not its size, however, but the fact that an industry so large is dominated by small businesses that take in less than $500,000 per year. The predominance of small businesses is both good and bad. It is good because it makes it easy for entrepreneurs and go-getters to enter the industry. It is bad because so many separate businesses competing in the same market space makes it hard for newcomers to differentiate themselves. If you are considering becoming a landscaper or are already working in the industry, a license may be the best asset you can invest in. Even if the area where you do business doesn’t require a license, consider the fact that the cost of investing in one can easily be offset by the boost it gives to your business. Here are just a few ways in which a license can improve your business prospects and your bottom line. Continue reading

13 Trends in Landscaping Design that Could Be Applied to Any Yard

13 trendsChasing trends may seem like a bad idea because you never really know when they are going to change. Of course, if you don’t keep your inventory up to date, then you won’t have what customers want and they’ll turn to other businesses. The key to following trends is to identify general themes and elements that are going to last for more than a season versus those that may only last a summer. Here are 13 trends in landscape design that can be applied to just about any yard and thus are likely to hang around for some time. Continue reading

When Evergreens Turn Brown

evergreen brownThe beauty of the evergreen is that it provides a hint of springtime even in the dead of winter. There are few things that warm the soul more than the sight of a brilliant green tree against a backdrop of winter majesty. Unfortunately, evergreens seem to be under attack and everywhere you look they are turning brown or losing their needles. What are the causes of browning in evergreens and what can you do about it? More importantly, how can you help your customers do something about it? Continue reading