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The World’s Most Valuable Cash Crop

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The World's Most Valuable Cash Crop

The Most Valuable Cash Crop

What is the world’s most valuable cash crop?

As with most things, it can be complicated and more nuanced to answer. However, ultimately it boils down to a few key factors: total amount planted, the rate of yield, and the revenue per unit sold. It also depends on whether we are looking at the absolute value, or the most value per acre.

The most planted crops throughout the world are wheat and maize (corn). Rice and soybeans are other key staples. However, these are all relatively low yielding and do not make enough revenue per tonne of product produced.

The highest yielding crops are sugar cane, sugar beet, and tomatoes. Sugar cane accounts for about 80% of the world’s sugar production, while sugar beet the remaining 20%.

Not surprisingly, the most lucrative cash crops from a value per acre perspective are illegal in many parts of the world. With a higher risk to grow these, there is a higher reward for the farmers. Cannabis has a value of $47.7 million per square kilometre, while coca weighs in at $37.7 million and opium poppies $6 million per sq. km.

The most lucrative legal crops include tomatoes ($1.4 million per sq. km) and grapes ($625,000 per sq. km). Interestingly, tobacco comes in the middle of the pack with a value of $277,000 per sq. km. Rapeseed (also known as canola) comes in at $60,000 per sq. km.

From an absolute value perspective, the world’s most valuable cash crop is cannabis as well. It is followed by rice, maize, and then wheat.

Original graphic from: Information is Beautiful

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The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries

Here are the largest cocoa producing countries globally—from Côte d’Ivoire to Brazil—as cocoa prices hit record highs.

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This tree map graphic shows the world's biggest cocoa producers.

The World’s Top Cocoa Producing Countries

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

West Africa is home to the largest cocoa producing countries worldwide, with 3.9 million tonnes of production in 2022.

In fact, there are about one million farmers in Côte d’Ivoire supplying cocoa to key customers such as Nestlé, Mars, and Hershey. But the massive influence of this industry has led to significant forest loss to plant cocoa trees.

This graphic shows the leading producers of cocoa, based on data from the UN FAO.

Global Hotspots for Cocoa Production

Below, we break down the top cocoa producing countries as of 2022:

Country2022 Production, Tonnes
🇨🇮 Côte d'Ivoire2.2M
🇬🇭 Ghana1.1M
🇮🇩 Indonesia667K
🇪🇨 Ecuador337K
🇨🇲 Cameroon300K
🇳🇬 Nigeria280K
🇧🇷 Brazil274K
🇵🇪 Peru171K
🇩🇴 Dominican Republic76K
🌍 Other386K

With 2.2 million tonnes of cocoa in 2022, Côte d’Ivoire is the world’s largest producer, accounting for a third of the global total.

For many reasons, the cocoa trade in Côte d’Ivoire and Western Africa has been controversial. Often, farmers make about 5% of the retail price of a chocolate bar, and earn $1.20 each day. Adding to this, roughly a third of cocoa farms operate on forests that are meant to be protected.

As the third largest producer, Indonesia produced 667,000 tonnes of cocoa with the U.S., Malaysia, and Singapore as major importers. Overall, small-scale farmers produce 95% of cocoa in the country, but face several challenges such as low pay and unwanted impacts from climate change. Alongside aging trees in the country, these setbacks have led productivity to decline.

In South America, major producers include Ecuador and Brazil. In the early 1900s, Ecuador was the world’s largest cocoa producing country, however shifts in the global marketplace and crop disease led its position to fall. Today, the country is most known for its high-grade single-origin chocolate, with farms seen across the Amazon rainforest.

Altogether, global cocoa production reached 6.5 million tonnes, supported by strong demand. On average, the market has grown 3% annually over the last several decades.

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