ETHNOBOTANIQUE

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Preventing a Future Without Chocolate

Article (en anglais) de Nicola Twilley paru dans The New Yorker, 4. 05. 2015

« There is a corner of England where the weather is distinctly West African: the International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, in suburban Reading. Inside this newly built greenhouse, which transforms watery British sunshine into the shady conditions of a rain-forest understory, some four hundred varieties of cacao grow in orderly potted rows. The $1.5 million structure is about the size of an Olympic swimming pool and is almost entirely controlled by an octopus-like network of tubes and sensors, which monitor everything from the plants’ electrical conductivity to over-all humidity levels. Outside, however, is a messier affair. “It looks a little bit like the Somme at the moment,” Paul Hadley, a professor of horticulture at the University of Reading, said as he navigated a series of muddy trenches and gravel mounds on a recent spring afternoon. The earthworks, he explained, are not defensive; the site is merely being landscaped ahead of its ceremonial opening this month.

For years, newspaper headlines and industry reports have been gloomily predicting that chocolate will soon become a delicacy available only to the super-rich. Accelerating consumption is part of the problem, as epicures in China, India, and Russia develop a taste for the product, but the vulnerability of the cacao plant itself poses the greatest challenge… »

Lire l’intégralité de l’article sur le site du journal.

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