Over the last 40 years, the big international cocoa companies such as Cadbury, Hershey and Nestle have whittled down the amount they pay to the cocoa farmer to per chocolate bar.
For growing the cocoa trees, individually picking the almond size beans, fending off snakes and fermenting the chocolate, a Ghana grower makes about a day.
That is marginally above slave labour.
If you want to pay the grower a 15% tip, you can ask for fair trade chocolate. In return, you get ultra-rich, organic, top-quality chocolate. There are many brands of fair trade chocolate available.
So treat yourself to some fair trade chocolate, or give some to a chocolate lover to turn them into your love slave.
Cocoa is big business. 5% of the food budget of a Briton goes to chocolate. It is the most valuable food commodity next to coffee.
The additional 15% on the grower’s share is negligible. Unfortunately, the middlemen still mark than share up preposterously. To get even a little extra through to the grower you have to fatten the middlemen.
The international fair trade certifying organisation is called FLO. They maintain lists of certified cocoa companies. They audit to make sure the chocolate truly is fair trade. They also provide similar certification for fair trade coffee, tea, sugar, tropical fruits and soccer balls. There is some phony fair trade stuff out there. If you don’t see either of these two certification logos, be suspicious. Most of the world’s fair trade certification groups are in the process of converting to the international logo.
The figures used in this essay came from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) Radio 1 Ideas documentary Two Cents Worth aired on 2003-11-24 and 2003-12-01.
Chocolate, The Bitter Truth BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) documentary on child slavery in the production of chocolate
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