The sustainability of cocoa production has been a major concern for producing countries and the confectionery industry.
The complex issue is evident from the ground up, with farmers receiving low prices, causing them turning to more profitable crops. This coupled with the political situation in producer countries, such as near civil war in Ivory Coast, is disrupting supply.
The consequence of these factors is an unstable supply line resulting in rising prices for confectioners as the global demand for cocoa increases.
The summit follows the international cocoa agreement made in 2001, which emphasized the need for a sustainable world cocoa economy. Since then several initiatives in both the private and public cocoa sectors have begun focusing on the different aspects of a sustainable cocoa economy.
The discussion on a sustainability cocoa economy sits along side a survey being conducted by the International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) building an inventory of ongoing initiatives.
Representatives from 34 countries are attending the summit along with two delegates from China who will be observers.
The summit that started yesterday (6 March) and continues until Friday 10 March is the first the ICCO has ever held in Italy.
The meeting is part of Eurochocolate Modica in Sicily, a weeklong event celebrating chocolate.
The event attracted around 50,000 visitors last weekend and more are expected next weekend, according to local reports.
The weekly turnover of the festival is expected to be about €10m, aided by numerous events encompassing fashion, art and entertainment all linked by chocolate.
One of the events will be the sampling of local chocolate, produced by a consortium of 20 companies from the Modica area.
Local chocolatiers often combine chocolate with other local produce and this year chocolate chicken can be tasted.
Another event will be Eurochocolate World an event dedicated to cacao producers who will promote the correct development of cacao economy.
The Italian National Library will also be involved, documenting the history of cacao and chocolate.