UnData - New UN database helps answer your chocolate questions
“Since its foundation, the United Nations system has been collecting statistical information from member states on a variety of topics. The information thus collected constitutes a considerable information asset of the organization. However, these statistical data are often stored in proprietary databases, each with unique dissemination and access policies. As a result, users are often unaware of the full array of statistical information that the UN system has in its data libraries. The current arrangement also means that users are required to move from one database to another to access different types of information. UNdata addresses this problem by pooling major UN databases and those of several other international organizations into one single Internet environment. The innovative design allows a user to access a large number of UN databases either by browsing the data series or through a keyword search.” – from a press announcementSearching through UNdata is a great way to waste a lot of time looking for what my father calls, “very important information not worth knowing.” It’s really quite a silly name when you think about it un-data. Not data? What’s not-data?A search on cacao results in no results, while a search for cocoa returns 11. Among the results is a table that displays the quantity and value of the trade of “Cocoa and cocoa preparations.” This reveals that the US, in 2006 (I suppose the last year for which figures are available), imported about 473,650 metric tons of “Cocoa beans, whole or broken, raw or roasted” with a total value (in 2006 US$) of about $780 million. In 2006, the US also imported about 33,800 metric tons of cocoa liquor, about 96,450 metric tons of cocoa butter, and about 104,760 metric tons of unsweetened cocoa powder.I have no idea what this really means except that it’s a very large number: about 708,660,000 kilograms, more than 2kg or about 5 pounds per man woman and child. Keep in mind that this figure does not include what the US imported in the way of finished chocolate products.I also have no idea what I am going to do with this information. However, I do know that I possess an instinctive ability to remember things in inverse proportion to their importance, so I know that in 5 years I am going to be able to recite at least the “5 pounds” figure while I will have trouble remembering what time to pick up my daughter from piano practice after school that day.