Cocoa

The future of cocoa is grim, with the lack of economic and environmental sustainability in cocoa production world over. Fairtrade is working to achieve a better sustainable future for cocoa producers and its production.

Bitter reality
of cocoa

Cocoa is the plant behind chocolate, one of the world’s most popular snacks but growing cocoa is a hard task.Most of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms, of which around 70% are in West African countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. India also produces cocoa in many of the peninsular states but a major amount of cocoa for the Indian market is also imported.

While Cocoa is used to make some of the most luxurious foods in the world, a large number of the cocoa farmers live in abject poverty. The effects of low prices and unsustainable incomes from cocoa cultivation are not only deterring future generations from remaining on their family farms, but also leading to exploitative practices in the existing cocoa cultivation.

Some persistent problems in the cocoa sector, which could ultimately destroy it, are:

  • Widespread poverty
  • Deforestation
  • Gender inequality
  • Child labour
  • Forced labour

Fairtrade interventions related to Cocoa

Fairtrade works with cocoa farmers who’ve formed small producer organisations. As per the Fairtrade Standards, these farmer organisations create a local support mechanism that facilitate:

  • Access to markets

  • Access to finance

  • Knowledge sharing

  • Better resource management

  • Better risk management

Fairtrade is helping to change the cocoa business for the better in a number of ways. Fairtrade Standards specify the payment of a Fairtrade Minimum Price, which ensures that cocoa farmers receive a fair and stable payment despite market fluctuations. Cocoa farmers partnering with Fairtrade also receive an additional sum called the Fairtrade Premium, which they invest in business or community projects of their choosing.

Many farmers have used the Premium to:

  • Improve their businesses and production
  • Replace old trees
  • Invest 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. If we want cocoa in the future, cocoa farmers need to earn a decent and viable living from their work.

The Fairtrade Standards have a number of criteria intended to prohibit child labour, and our youth-led approach in the countries where it is most common complements our work with governments and other NGOs to eradicate the practice.

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