Did you know, most cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate?
Ninety percent of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms by about 6 million farmers who earn their living from growing and selling cocoa beans. The number of farmers is falling because the benefits are so poor, and few young people want to stay in the cocoa business. Farmers’ income keeps falling while production costs rise. Farmers face widespread poverty, gender inequality, child labour, and forced labour, just to name a few ongoing concerns. These problems could ultimately destroy the sector. But it doesn’t have to be this way. If we want cocoa in the future, cocoa farmers need to earn a decent and viable living from their work.
While the chocolate industry is booming, cocoa farmers around the world often struggle to make a living, despite being the source of this highly prized commodity. Regardless of the high demand, the price of cocoa beans has slumped in recent years.
Fairtrade is helping to change the cocoa business for the better in a number of ways. They help to make places like Ivory Coast and Ghana more sustainable by guaranteeing minimum prices and proving a premium to invest in local communities, so farmers can provide a better future for themselves and their families.
When buying, look for the following label:
Farmer organizations also receive a Fairtrade premium which they invest in projects of their choice. Many farmers have used the premium to improve their businesses and production, replacing old trees and investing in better facilities for crop collection, storage, and transport, or processing.
Fairtrade is also pushing the envelope to establish living incomes for small-scale farmers.
When it comes to buying chocolate, your brand choice can have more of an impact than you realize.
Fairtrade chocolate available in South Africa:
Cadburys Dairy Milk Range
Marks and Spencer (Woolworths)
Green and Black’s (Selected PnP stores and Wellness Warehouse)
Image: CHEF! Magazine