The cocoa plant grows in various countries located ten degrees around the equator, with major producers including the Ivory Coast, Indonesia, Ghana, Nigeria and Cameroon. Cocoa also grows in the Central and South American regions, with major production countries being Mexico, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil and the Dominican Republic. The top ten cocoa-producing countries produced nearly five million metric tons in 2012, according to a report by the UN Food & Agriculture Association.
The cocoa plant is a native plant that was originally found in the tropical areas of Central and South America. The cocoa plant requires a combination of constant rainfall and an average temperature of between 21 to 23 degrees Celsius to grow. The cocoa plant comes in three main varieties, which are Fostrero, Trinitario and Criollo.
One of the major cocoa producers in the world market is Ghana, where the plant was first planted in 1879. Cocoa farming in Ghana and other African countries is generally done on small family-owned farms and remains relatively unsophisticated.
Cocoa plants in the Asian region are generally found in the South-East Asian countries of Indonesia and Malaysia. Cocoa farming in this region is generally done on plantations that are owned by both the government and private entities.