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A living wage for West Africa’s farmers

The Fairtrade Foundation’s latest report, entitled Craving Change in Chocolate: How to Secure a Living Income for Cocoa Farmers sets out to explain three key points: the size of the cocoa and chocolate industry worldwide; the poor working conditions and poverty of West African cocoa farmers; and how to tackle these issues.

Globally, cocoa is traded in massive volumes and, in the UK, one of the largest consumers of chocolate, the industry is worth €4.6 billion. Despite the incredible size of the industry and its profitability, on average, only 6.6% of the value of 1 t of cocoa sold is received by the growers. In this report, the Fairtrade Foundation argues that a living income for producers is key to ensuring the future sustainability of cocoa, and calculates that, if paid €2.15 per day, a cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire (€1.85 in Ghana) could live a decent life.

To help achieve this standard, the Foundation is increasing its minimum price – no other scheme has a mandatory minimum price – and its premium, both by 20%. But, recognising that it covers only a small proportion (6%) of the global cocoa industry, Fairtrade is calling on others to do follow suit.

This easily digestible short report with colourful photographs, and detailed infographics and graphs is directed at governments and chocolate businesses, but also, to chocolate lovers worldwide, to help bring the living income into effect. The third chapter, for instance, outlines an Agenda for Action, which sets out recommendations for all stakeholders, including the backing of other global initiatives, such as Belgium’s Beyond Chocolate’ initiative, to drive change.

James Thorp

Craving a Change in Chocolate: How to Secure a Living Income for Cocoa Farmers
By D Taylor & S Henty
Fairtrade Foundation, 2019; 28 pp.

In this issue


Michael Hailu: “Digitalisation: a game changer in transforming smallholder agriculture”

As CTA launch a landmark report on digitalisation in agriculture in Africa, Michael Hailu, director of CTA highlights his hopes that the report will help inform other actors and inspire and engage investors by identifying impact and investment opportunities in this critical sector.

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In the 48 pages of their annual report, CTA demonstrates the extent to which their actions in support of digitalisation contribute to agricultural transformation in ACP countries. “It is becoming increasingly evident that a strong focus on digitalisation as a means to drive agricultural transformation is bearing dividends in the forms of increased production, better livelihoods, more efficient value chains and ultimately greater food and nutrition security,” is the message from Michael Hailu, CTA Director.


Africa’s growing youth workforce presents enormous potential for agricultural transformation, but to capitalise on this promising resource the sector must become a more attractive employment option for the continent’s young people.


The 2019 Global Report on Food Crises: Joint Analysis for Better Decisions is a product of the Global Network against Food Crises. It is the result of a collaborative effort involving 15 leading global and regional institutions – including the EU, FAO and WFP – to share data, analyses, knowledge and expertise regarding people facing food crises.