I should cocoa (how technology impacts on chocolate)
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I should cocoa (how technology impacts on chocolate)

I should cocoa (how technology impacts on chocolate)

Posted on 11th April 2019

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At Be-IT we’re always keen to promote stories about the beneficial effects of technology, especially when the tech emanates from this country.  

This is a great story about how IT and government can work together to improve the lot of mankind. I came across it on the ScotlandIS news page, where it explains just how the use of satellite data is helping governments in Africa and the cocoa producers there to help reduce deforestation caused by the latter (see pic above). While this may seem trivial (unless you consume chocolate on the industrial scale of some of my colleagues here at Be-IT), it is, in fact, an example of some relatively simple tech being deployed to make a substantial difference to an industry that employs over two million small-scale cocoa growers in the Ivory Coast and Ghana alone.

What I didn’t realise is that cocoa is a shade loving plant, so it’s grown under the forest canopy, thus making it difficult to identify by conventional satellite imaging. However, as the ScotlandIS report explains, “Using satellite derived information from the UK Space Agency’s Forests 2020 Project, led by Edinburgh-based Ecometrica, the Ghana Forestry Commission has been supported in the development of a landscape-level map that separates cocoa from forestry, which is critical to measure how cocoa is driving deforestation.”

What this means in practice is that the African governments concerned can analyse land use and, where required, tackle evidence of deforestation while balancing the requirements of sustainability against the need to preserve the environment and the livelihoods of those millions of small farmers (not to mention allowing my colleagues their daily fix of cocoa and sugar).  What’s not to like – tech and chocolate? – it sounds an ideal Scottish mix!

Nikola Kelly, MD, Be-IT


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