The Fairtrade Foundation’s new campaign calls on the UK Government and companies to ensure cocoa farmers earn living incomes by 2030 in line with the UN’s Global Goals to end poverty.
Cocoa farmers working in tough conditions are living on as little as 74p a day, well below the world’s extreme poverty line. Yet for around £1.86 per day, the average price of a large chocolate bar, farmers could live a decent life, according to a report launching Fairtrade Fortnight, (25 February –10 March).
The UK chocolate industry is worth £4 billion. Despite this, many West African cocoa farmers where 60% of cocoa is grown, are living in poverty, unable to pay for food, send their children to school or buy medicine. Based on new research carried out by Fairtrade International and by The Living Income Community of Practice, the report argues living incomes are key to ensuring the future sustainability of cocoa.
To achieve this, the price farmers receive for their cocoa must increase and that is why in October, Fairtrade is raising its Minimum Price and Premium. However, just 6% of cocoa globally is Fairtrade-certified, so the movement calls for collective action from the government, industry and consumers.
Communities and businesses across the UK are backing Fairtrade Fortnight, with support from Waitrose & Partners, the Co-op, Ben & Jerry’s, Divine Chocolate, Mars, Greggs and Starbucks who are all sourcing Fairtrade cocoa. By doing so they are helping farmers sell more. Fairtrade Foundation’s 'She Deserves' campaign also reveals women cocoa farmers carry the greatest burden for the least reward. They work in the fields, look after children, do the chores and the lion’s share of labour involved in bringing cocoa crops to market but have fewer rights than men and rarely own land, therefore get even less of the profits from cocoa.
Michael Gidney, CEO Fairtrade Foundation, said: 'As a nation of chocolate lovers, it is shocking that the women who grow and harvest the cocoa that goes into our treats are barely able to put food on the table. Everyone is entitled to a decent income. As a country we’ve signed up to end poverty by 2030, but that won’t happen unless people earn more for the work they do. We’re calling on governments, businesses and the public to pledge to make living incomes a reality. Our leaders must make sure trade deals put poverty reduction first. If that matters to you please sign the petition.'
Pondering over what to get for your foodie vegan friend or sister for a present? Look no further than organic Fairtrade British handmade chocolate brand Seed and Bean, whose bars also have fully recyclable and unique compostable packaging. Flavours are created by blending cocoa beans from the world’s finest Fairtrade cocoa regions with English botanicals. The vegan-friendly dark chocolate range includes warming Just Ginger and Mandarin & Ginger for a fiery kick and Sicilian Hazelnut and Mint for the perfect after lunch moment of pleasure. If you can’t decide which fabulous flavour to choose, Seed and Bean have produced a selection of hampers. The Vegan Collection includes Cornish Sea Salt, Chilli & Lime, Aromatic Fennel and Sweet Orange & Thyme.
I'm Gilly, award winning journalist, travel writer and author of 11 books. My byline appears in national and regional newspapers and magazines. See website gillypickup.co.uk