In his chocolate production talk, Koen Dewettinck asks the question, can chocolate save the world? The answer turns out to be no, but it is worth saving.
Many economies of West African countries are driven by cocoa bean production. Not only is it represented on Ghanaian currency, two thirds of the world's cocoa bean production comes from this region. This is particularly impressive because a couple hundred years ago, there were no trees to grow this resource. The problem is the cocoa farmers are aging and upcoming generations are uninterested in this sort of work. Existing trees are aging and becoming susceptible to disease, as others are being cut down and replaced with the more profitable rubber trees.
Rather than importing cocoa beans from the south to northern countries like Belgium, Dewettinck began to transfer knowledge to areas where the beans were grown originally and added value locally. This allowed local people to learn about processing and alter them to fit their needs.