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.