THE UNIVERSITY of Reading let residents in on a lesser known fact about the site recently - the University has been busy quietly ensuring the survival of chocolate for almost 40 years.

The International Cocoa Quarantine Centre, based within the University of Reading's facilities, describes their work as supporting "the continuing breeding efforts required to maintain sustainable cocoa production."

ALSO READ: Reading FC confirm the Madejski Stadium has been renamed for the next TEN YEARS

In other words, the site has more than 300 clones of different types of cocoa plants, and are keeping them in good condition, in case the rest of the world's cocoa plants are wiped out.

Although at first it might seem that this doomsday-like premise is a bit excessive, in 2021 the cocoa industry continues to face a number of issues.


According to Forum Nachhaltiger Kakao, the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, places such as Ghana and Côte d'ivoire, where a large amount of the cocoa industry sources the plants, has seen large areas of deforestation take hold - between 1960 and 2015, the forests in Côte d'Ivoire have been reduced by 79 per cent.

Furthermore, rising concerns over pests and plant diseases (According to the ICQC,R this kills 30 per cent of cocoa yield annually), and the ever-increasing uncertainty of climate change, means that threats to the varieties of cocoa plants are very real.

ALSO READ: The pongiest streets in Reading - do you agree?

The organisation, operating with a 1000m x 1000m greenhouse, breeds the different varieties of the plants in order to create new ones that are more pest and disease resistant, produce higher yields, and have greater tolerance to environmental stresses.

For more information on the ICQC,R's work, visit