This is the VOA Special English Agriculture Report, from voaspecialenglish.com | http Valentine’s Day, February fourteenth, is one of the biggest days of the year for lovers of chocolate. Americans were expected to spend more than one billion dollars on chocolates and other candies for their sweethearts this year. But the chocolate industry worries that prices for its sweets could rise in the years ahead. Susan Smith is a spokeswoman for the National Confectioners Association, a trade group for the candy, chocolate and gum industries. She says, “They’re very aware that an everyday candy product needs to be an affordable treat.” Americans buy more than eighteen billion dollars worth of chocolate each year. But keeping chocolate at prices that people can afford may be a challenge in the future. Demand is growing, especially in Asia. More people in Asia are developing a taste for chocolate, and have more money to buy it. The chocolate industry worries that supply will not keep up with demand. Cocoa is the main ingredient in chocolate. Millions of poor farmers in West Africa grow about seventy percent of the world’s cocoa. Each farmer has just a few hectares of land. “And they don’t have a lot of additional capital. They may not have the management skills that are required to actually do a better job.” So says Lyndel Meinhardt. He supervises cocoa research at the United States Department of Agriculture. Mr. Meinhardt says these farmers often do not have the money to buy

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