Answer: Chocolate, and chocolate. Read on!
Up to 75% of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, specifically Cote D’Ivoire and Ghana. Most cocoa farmers receive an income which is below the poverty line and therefore are unable to pay adult wages to workers on their farms. Labour is provided by their own children (during or outside school hours) and farmers especially those in Cote D’Ivoire are very vulnerable to accepting free labour in the form of children trafficked from neighbouring countries. Currently Fair Trade certifies 11 cocoa cooperatives who represent 95,000 farmers in Ghana and 52 cooperatives, with 33,000 farmers in Cote D’Ivoire. As well as offering a guaranteed ‘floor-price’ Fair Trade provides a premium that the cooperative can use for local projects such as health or education facilities. By joining a cooperative, farmers have a voice in bargaining for better prices for their cocoa.
The certification system has become less straightforward since Mondelez (owner of Cadburys) ceased using the Fair Trade logo in December 2016. However it stated that it is would ‘maintain a partnership with Fair Trade.’ It does have a partnership with FLOCERT, the third-party body that verifies Fair Trade supply chains. A situation of ageing trees and ageing cocoa farmers whose children believe they can do better elsewhere do not bode well for the cocoa industry so Mondelez and the other big cocoa buyers are active on the ground in cocoa-growing areas, assisting farmers to improve yields and to address child labour issues, in order to ensure the sustainability of the industry. However none of these companies are really addressing the basic issue of the farmers’ unacceptably low income.
For more detail about what Fair Trade, as well as UTZ and Rainforest Alliance and the chocolate companies are doing to assist cocoa farmers, STOP THE TRAFFIK’s ‘A Matter of Taste’ is a very interesting read – find it at http://stopthetraffik.com.au/chocolate/ or www.stopthetraffik/https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5600d036e4b056134c4419f3/t/597d73bb20099e0ef59c8fbb/1501393907711/A+Matter+of+Taste+Long+Version+Final.pdf