Countries of Origin
Where Cacao Grows
Cacao grows in nearly every continent around the world but only within a narrow band of longitude. That band ranges from 0°–20° north and south of the equator.
Our map below shows the band and the continents that have cacao producing countries.
(For more about the cacao tree please go here.)
The maps below show each continent’s cacao growing countries or territories. Some countries have borders that extend past the range in which cacao grows. Those areas haven’t been filled in with color so this is no political map. Just a chocolate map!
Africa produces 70% of the worlds cocoa beans and has some of the most ideal climates for growing cacao. As such three of the top five cocoa producing countries are in West Africa.
Most of the cocoa beans produced in Africa are the Forestero variety and most is grown for export. There are not many companies processing cocoa beans into chocolate in Africa.
1. Sierra Leone
3. Côte d’Ivoire
7. Bioko (An island of E. Guinea – formerly Fernando Pó)
8. São Tomé and Príncipe
9. Equatorial Guinea
ASIA & OCEANIA
Indonesia is the largest producer of cocoa beans in Asia and Oceania and second only to Côte d’Ivoire in worldwide production. Cacao growing is spread far and wide in Asia. Finding chocolate created from beans produced in Vietnam and Sri Lanka is becoming much more common.
2. Sri Lanka
9. Papua New Guinea
10. Solomon Islands
NORTH & CENTRAL AMERICA
The use of cocoa began in Mesoamerica so it’s no surprise that there is a long history of cacao in Mexico and Central America. The Criollo bean has its origins in Mexico and this flavor bean is mainly still grown in Central America.
6. Costa Rica
The hybrid Trinitario was developed in Trinidad, hence its name, and is still the primary variety of cacao grown in the Caribbean today.
4. Dominican Republic
5. Puerto Rico
8. Trinidad and Tobago
South America grows some of the most prized flavor beans in the world like the the Nacional. Brazil is the largest producer of cocoa beans in South America while Venezuela is well known for its rarer varieties like the Porcelana and the Chuao.
TOP COUNTRIES OF PRODUCTION
Although many countries do grow cacao these are the top ten in global production.