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It’s A Bittersweet Easter For Chocolate Lovers And African Cocoa Farmers But Big Brands See Profits




Accra, Ghana – This year, shoppers may receive an unpleasant surprise in their Easter baskets. Chocolate eggs and bunnies are more expensive than ever as changing climate patterns deplete global cocoa supplies and farmers’ profits in West Africa.

Cacao plants in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, and Cameroon provide almost three-quarters of the world’s cocoa used to make chocolate. However, dusty seasonal winds from the Sahara have been harsh in recent months, obscuring the sunlight required for bean pod growth. The season before, severe rainfall spread a rotting illness.


It’s A Bittersweet Easter For Chocolate Lovers And African Cocoa Farmers But Big Brands See Profits

With shipments from the world’s largest producer, the Ivory Coast, falling by a third in recent months, the worldwide price of cocoa has climbed substantially. Cocoa futures have already doubled this year, trading at a record high of more than $10,000 a metric ton in New York on Tuesday, following a 60% increase the previous year. Farmers who harvest cocoa beans believe the raises need to be increased to offset reduced yields and increasing production costs.

However, the strong Easter demand for chocolate represents a potential treat for large confectionery producers. Major multinational manufacturers in Europe and the United States have more than passed on the increased cocoa prices to customers. The Hershey Company’s net profit margins climbed to 16.7% in 2023, up from 15.8% in 2022. Mondelez International, which owns the Toblerone and Cadbury trademarks, reported an increase to 13.8% in 2023 from 8.6% the previous year.

Wells Fargo stated in research this month that “it is likely that consumers will see a price spike on chocolate candy this Easter.”

Mondelez said it boosted chocolate prices by up to 15% last year and will consider further price increases to help reach revenue growth targets for 2024. “Pricing is clearly a key component of this plan,” CFO Luca Zaramella stated in January. “Its contribution will be a little bit less than we have seen in 2023, but it is higher than an average year.”

Hershey’s hiked pricing on its products last year and has not ruled out further rises. During a conference call with investors last month, Hershey Chairman, President, and CEO Michele Buck stated, “Given where cocoa prices are, we will be using every tool in our toolbox, including pricing, to manage the business.”

Consumers are keeping track in the United Kingdom?, a consumer research and services firm discovered that chocolate Easter eggs and bunnies from popular brands such as Lindt and Toblerone cost roughly 50% more this year. It also mentioned that certain candy eggs were smaller.

Cocoa trades on a regulated global market. Farmers sell to local dealers or processing firms, selling cocoa products to international chocolate makers. Prices are established up to one year in advance. Many farmers blame climate change for their bad harvests. Cacao plants only grow near the equator and are highly sensitive to weather fluctuations.

“The harmattan was severe at the time the pods were supposed to develop,” Fiifi Boafo, a spokesperson for the Ghana Cocoa Board, said. The cool trade winds carry enough dust to block the sunlight so the trees can flower and produce beans.

Months of rain have also been blamed for black pod disease, a fungal illness that thrives in cool, rainy, and overcast weather and causes pods to rot and harden.

“We have a wonderful deal today, but that isn’t it. Eloi Gnakomene, a cacao farmer on the Ivory Coast, claimed last month that cacao had not yet yielded any fruit. “People say that we’ve had a bit, but those living over that way, they’ve had nothing.”

Opanin Kofi Tutu, a cocoa farmer in Suhum, eastern Ghana, says the production gap and rising fertilizer expenses make it tough to live. “The exchange rate to the dollar is killing us,” he told reporters.

Tutu does not relate chocolate to any of the Easter festivities. “I’m looking forward to my wife’s kotomir and plantain, not chocolates,” he remarked, referring to a local sauce made from cocoyam leaves.

To boost output, officials are pushing education on farming methods that may reduce the consequences of climate change, such as the use of irrigation systems. The President of Ghana has also committed to intervening to help farmers receive a better deal.


It’s A Bittersweet Easter For Chocolate Lovers And African Cocoa Farmers But Big Brands See Profits

“With the current trend of the world cocoa price, cocoa farmers can be assured that I will do right by them in the next cocoa season,” President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stated last month.

The National Retail Federation, an American trade association, predicts that spending this Easter will remain high by historical standards despite increased candy prices. According to its most recent study, shoppers anticipated spending $3.1 billion on chocolate eggs, bunnies, and other sweets this Easter, a decrease from $3.3 billion the previous year.

According to the Chocosuisse industry group, domestic chocolate consumption in Switzerland, the world’s highest per capita, fell by 1% last year to 10.9kg per person. It connected the drop to an increase in retail chocolate pricing.

Lindt & Sprüngli, the country’s iconic chocolate company, reported increasing profitability, with margins jumping to 15.6% from 15% the year before.

“Lindt & Sprüngli Group’s business model once again proved to be very successful in the financial year 2023,” it said in a statement this month, noting that price rises accounted for most of the growth.

However, several smaller chocolate manufacturers need help to keep up with the rise in cocoa prices as sales fall.


It’s A Bittersweet Easter For Chocolate Lovers And African Cocoa Farmers But Big Brands See Profits

Sandrine Chocolates, a London shop that sells handmade Belgian chocolates, is battling to stay open after decades in business. Niaz Mardan, the owner, stated that the United Kingdom’s cost-of-living issue and failing economy have made people more concerned about food than luxury chocolate, especially because cheaper alternatives are accessible at large grocery stores.

She has gotten rid of her two staff and relies on Easter and Christmas revenues to keep afloat. “Many, many times, I thought to close the shop, but because I love the shop, I don’t want to close it,” Mardan, the 57-year-old owner, said. “But there is no profit at all.”


Kiara Grace is a staff writer at VORNews, a reputable online publication. Her writing focuses on technology trends, particularly in the realm of consumer electronics and software. With a keen eye for detail and a knack for breaking down complex topics, Kiara delivers insightful analyses that resonate with tech enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Her articles strike a balance between in-depth coverage and accessibility, making them a go-to resource for anyone seeking to stay informed about the latest innovations shaping our digital world.

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Man Set Himself Afire in New York Leaves Shocking Manifesto



man set himself on fire new york
Man Set Himself Afire: Getty Image

In an online manifesto, the man set himself on fire outside a New York courthouse where former President Donald Trump was on trial, citing political motivations. The individual, Max Azzarello, is alive but badly injured. Police observed him dousing himself with fluids before lighting.

Responders on the scene contributed to the fire’s extinguishment. Azzarello’s pamphlets and social media posts suggest conspiracy ideas, but officials do not believe he targeted anyone specifically.

According to accounts, a recently released manifesto ascribed to the man who set himself on fire outside the lower Manhattan courthouse where Trump’s hush money trial is taking place appears to be motivated only by political reasons.

Identified as Max Azzarello, he supposedly runs a Substack page called “The Ponzi Papers,” with his most recent entry headlined “I have set myself on fire outside the Trump Trial.”

In the first lines, Azzarello reveals his extreme act to highlight a critical revelation: “My name is Max Azzarello, and I am an investigative researcher who has set himself on fire outside of the Trump trial in Manhattan. The purpose of this severe protest is to call attention to an urgent and significant finding.”

He went on to say, “We are victims of a totalitarian con, and our government (along with many of their allies) is about to hit us with an apocalyptic fascist world coup.”

The manifesto references a complicated conspiracy involving cryptocurrencies and government collaboration, reflecting themes from Azzarello’s recent social media activities.

Authorities in New York have confirmed that Azzarello is alive but in critical condition.

Man on Fire New York

Man on Fire New York: Getty Image

During an afternoon press briefing following the incident, New York Police Department Chief Jeffrey Maddrey explained: “At 1.30 this afternoon, we observed a male walk into the center of the park, he starts shuffling around his clothes, he opens up a book bag, takes numerous pieces of paper, he throws the pamphlets throughout the park, and then he pulls out a canister and puts some kind of liquid on himself, and he lights himself on fire.”

“New York citizens, court officers, and representatives of the police department rush into the park and try to put him out with their coats and fire extinguishers. Eventually, New York firefighters were able to extinguish the fire,” Maddrey said.

The New York Fire Department eventually extinguished the fire, and Azzarello was reported to be “alive and intubated” at Cornell Medical Center’s burn center.

“I hope you understand how powerful you are. “I wish you much more than luck,” he said at the end of his lengthy manifesto.

The altercation occurred just as Judge Juan Merchan was about to adjourn for lunch on the third day of Trump’s fraud trial. It occurred in a portion of the plaza where small groups of protestors had been gathered every day since Monday, except Wednesday.

Azzarello was seen kneeling on the ground, his arms gesturing madly as flames devoured him. Television commentators described the harrowing scenario as many police officers and a civilian raced towards him.

Amidst the confusion, one person tried smattering the flames with a coat or blanket, while another used a fire extinguisher. Azzarello remained motionless after the fire was extinguished and was later treated by paramedics.

People in New York Horrified

A spectator who witnessed the incident expressed disbelief, saying, “He made a noise and flung all those brochures. It is shocking. A few folks are crying in the park. “There is nothing you can do.”

The NYPD’s chief of detectives, Joseph Kenny, stated that Azzarello’s pamphlets and social media posts indicated that the trial acted as a backdrop rather than a direct reason for his conduct.

Kenny viewed the pamphlet as propaganda-driven, stating: “The pamphlet appears to be propaganda-based, almost like a conspiracy-theory-type of pamphlet, with some information about Ponzi schemes and the fact that some of our local educational institutes are a front for the mob.”

Kenny discovered that Azzarello, from St. Augustine, Florida, has no criminal history in New York and was unknown to officials.

The NYPD’s deputy commissioner, Tarik Sheppard, stated that detectives did not perceive Azzarello’s conduct as targeting any single people or group, including Trump or his supporters.

“We just right now labeled him as a sort of conspiracy theorist, and we’ll go from there, but the investigation will continue,” he said.

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Man Set Himself Ablaze Outside New York Courthouse



Man on Fire New York
The smell of smoke lingered: Getty Image

A man set himself on fire outside the New York courthouse where former President Donald Trump’s historic hush-money trial was taking place, but officials said he did not appear to be targeting Trump.

The man burned for many minutes in full front of television cameras stationed outside the courthouse, which is hosting the first-ever criminal prosecution of a former United States president.

“He was on fire for quite a while,” one witness told reporters, declining to provide his name. “It was pretty horrifying.”

Officials said the man, who is in his late thirties, survived and was in critical condition at a hospital.

According to witnesses, the man removed leaflets from a rucksack and hurled them into the air before dousing himself with liquid and setting himself on fire. One of the booklets mentioned “evil billionaires,” but the portions accessible to a Reuters witness did not mention Trump.

According to the New York Police Department, Max Azzarello of St. Augustine, Florida, did not appear to target Trump or any other trial participants.

“Right now, we are labeling him as a conspiracy theorist, and we will proceed from there,” Tarik Sheppard, a deputy commissioner of the Police Department, said at a news conference.

In an online manifesto, a man using that name admitted to setting himself on fire and apologized to friends, bystanders, and first responders. The message warns of “an apocalyptic fascist coup” and condemns Bitcoin and US politicians but does not mention Trump specifically.

A Reuters witness reported that smoke persisted in the plaza shortly after the incident and that a police officer sprayed a fire extinguisher on the ground. A flaming rucksack and a gas can were both visible.

US Truckers Boycott New York, Rally Behind Trump

US Truckers Boycott Corrupt New York, Rally Behind Trump

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G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack



AP - VOR News Image

Paris police find no weapons on a man detained at Iran’s consulate.

Police said Friday that they discovered no weapons on a man held at the Iranian consulate in Paris after responding to a report of a suspicious man carrying a grenade and an explosives vest.

A Paris police spokesperson told The Associated Press that authorities were verifying the man’s identity but discovered no such weapons on him or in his car.


AP News – VOR News Image

G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he is not permitted to be publicly identified under police procedure.

Some of the police, special agents, and firefighters who rushed to the situation at the consulate were later spotted leaving the area after being arrested. A police cordon remained in place, although traffic had resumed in the area.

According to the official, the individual was observed late Friday morning, and police initiated a special operation as soon as they were notified.

The event occurred at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, as Paris prepares to host the summer Olympics.

The director of the United Nations’ nuclear inspector says there was no damage to the Isfahan nuclear facility following a purported Israeli drone attack on a major air base near the Iranian city.

When asked about the nuclear facility on Sky News, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi stated, “There hasn’t been any damage at the site or anything that would indicate that (there) were hits nearby or something that could lead you to believe that there was an intention to reach these places.”

The Isfahan facility has three small research reactors supplied by China, as well as fuel production and other activities for Iran’s civilian nuclear program.


G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Isfahan also contains locations related with Iran’s nuclear program, such as the subterranean Natanz enrichment facility, which has been frequently attacked by suspected Israeli sabotage strikes.

Iranian authorities claim that air defenses fired on a key air base in Isfahan, which has long housed Iran’s fleet of American-made F-14 Tomcats, purchased prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Missile remnants were discovered Friday near Latifiya, southwest of Baghdad.

An official with an Iranian-backed militia in Iraq, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak with journalists, said the missile was shot down due to jamming efforts. The Iraqi army lacks jamming systems similar to those used to destroy the rocket, but Iran has handed such gear to its allied militias.

It was unclear whether the rocket was part of an Israeli attack on Iran or last weekend’s Iranian attack on Israel. Local media images of the site showed what seemed to be an air-to-surface missile. There were no reports of Iran firing air-to-surface missiles during Saturday’s onslaught, which comprised over 300 drones, ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles.


G7 Warns Of New Sanctions Against Iran As World Reacts To Apparent Israeli Drone Attack

Tehran launched the attack in response to a purported Israeli strike in Syria on April 1, which killed two Iranian generals in an Iranian consulate building.


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