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Cocoa in the Shade of War

Posted on May 17, 2012
Moussadougou, Ivory Coast Photograph by Peter DiCampo/VII Mentor Program

The story of cocoa, once used in the Aztec court as currency and first tasted by Europeans centuries ago, has always been rife with conflict. The most recent chapter in the cocoa bean's history is taking place in Ivory Coast, which now provides 40 percent of the world's crop. In the 1980s, migrant workers from across West Africa fueled its production. Then Ivory Coast's economy collapsed and violence over land rights exploded, displacing thousands and culminating in a 10-year civil war. The country now has a new government. Attacks continue, however, and thousands still live in refugee camps. With demand booming worldwide, cocoa production continues apace. — Brent Murray

Moussadougou (above) is a farming community that has rapidly grown to 30,000 residents over the past few decades, most of them "immigrants" from northern Ivory Coast.

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