Cacao cultivation is restricted to the hot, humid belt 10 to 20 degrees north and south of the equator. As the popularity of chocolate spread, European countries quickly established plantations in these regions.
In 1900, Latin America led the world in cacao production, but today Africa does. Although nearly 60 tropical countries grow cacao, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Indonesia and Brazil account for 79% of the world’s production. Cacao is also grown in Bolivia, Cameroon, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Fiji, Grenada, Haiti, Malaysia, Madagascar, Mexico, Peru, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, the Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Togo, Trinidad, Venezuela, Vietnam and Zaire.