Happiness is... a block of (Fairtrade) chocolate
It’s a treat that many of us treasure and enjoy – but conditions for a cocoa farmer can be anything but joyful. At Fairtrade, we believe it’s time to connect the dots between the confectionary aisle and extreme poverty.
A bittersweet situation
With a value of $150 billion (USD), the global chocolate market is undeniably huge. It is estimated there are currently 50 million people worldwide who depend on the sector for their livelihoods.
However, for many cocoa farmers and their families (predominantly in West Africa), they face a lifetime of living below the poverty line. They can’t provide the basics for their family, face grueling conditions and devastatingly – there is little they can offer their children when it comes to education or opportunity.
And the bigger picture is this: generational extreme poverty breeds child labour, gender inequality and deforestation as well. None of which is an attractive proposition for those who would be the next generation of cocoa farmers. If these issues continue, the future of cocoa production is under serious threat.
We know, it’s pretty tough to digest all this. But there is a solution, one that has been working for more than twenty five years – and that’s buying Fairtrade chocolate.
The Fairtrade Mark on your chocolate purchase means Fairtrade has helped farmers get a secure, stable price that protects them from market crashes, it’s called the Fairtrade Minimum Price. Beyond this, we provide the Fairtrade Premium, which is an extra payment on top of the minimum price. This provides farmers in disadvantaged communities with the funds to send their children to school, and grow their business, or to address other appropriate needs, such as investments in solar energy or building a health clinic. So far, Fairtrade chocolate has generated millions of dollars for farmers in West Africa and Latin America. Sweet huh!
But there is still much to do. Just 10 percent of the world’s cocoa is sold on Fairtrade terms, we need all you chocolate lovers out there to understand the power you have as consumers. So go on, get stuck into some Fairtrade chocolate!
Need some more reasons to buy Fairtrade chocolate? (Besides, chocolate)
Cocoa has grown to be one of the most prominent Fairtrade products since it was first certified in 1994. Here are some facts to help paint the picture:
From little things, big things grow!
The Conacado association in the Dominican Republic is one of Fairtrade’s greatest success stories.
25 years ago, cocoa production in the Dominican Republic was rife with issues. Poor bean quality and a fragmented region meant very little prospects for cocoa farmers. In short, life was hard.
Fast forward to 2020 and the association has grown to 10,000 farmers selling Fairtrade and organic cocoa. They have become the tenth largest exporter in the world and have made huge inroads to improving farming conditions and the lives of farming communities.
Through Fairtrade Premium payments, the group receives $200,000 (USD) each year in addition to the set price of cocoa. Decisions on how to invest the Premium in business and community development have meant great change – such as schooling for children, machinery and improving skills when it comes to up-skilling cocoa production.
Conacado’s rise particularly impressed Green & Black’s, an organic chocolate brand widely available (and very delicious). They are a principal source of cocoa for Green & Black’s, which switched its range of organic chocolate bars to 100 percent Fairtrade in 2011.
If you ever needed a reason to buy Fairtrade chocolate – this is it!
Where to buy Fairtrade chocolate
There are a tonne of brands to choose from if you are looking for Fairtrade chocolate, including several organic options, just look for the Fairtrade Mark in the confectionary aisle!