Ebola epidemic may affect world's supplies of cocoa, thus causing the shortage of the raw material on the market.
Such manufacturers of confectionery products as Mars, Nestle and Mondelez International have already expressed concerns on the issue, the Vedomosti newspaper reports.
Cote d'Ivoire, which accounts for 40 percent of world production of cocoa beans, borders on Guinea and Liberia, where the deadly infection is raging. Nestle, Mars and Hershey have their plantations in Cote d'Ivoire. Another country in West African - Ghana - grows 20 percent of cocoa beans. In total, the cocoa producers in West Africa that found themselves in the center of Ebola epidemic account for 70 percent of world production of cocoa beans.
Farmers grow cocoa beans on tiny plots of land and sell them to dealers, who visit their farms themselves and then sell the harvest for export. Restrictions on movement and quarantine will thus isolate millions of farmers and block supplies of cocoa beans to world's largest chocolate makers.
Three-month futures for cocoa beans on the New York ICE rose sharply in the second half of September, having reached the maximum in 3.5 years on September 24 - $ 3,371 / ton of cocoa beans. The harvest season, which began on October 1, pushed the prices down a bit - they fell by 7 percent to $3,134 per ton.
Russia is one of the world's largest importers of cocoa. Last year, the cocoa crop made up 3.9 million tons, of which Russia imported 188,000 tons of cocoa beans and cocoa products. According to ICCO, Russia is among 20 largest consumers of cocoa beans.