About 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa comes from West Africa, including Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana, while 90 per cent of production comes from smallholders. With production based in such a small area, the industry is far more susceptible to shocks, be they political or environmental, than most. With many farmers earning less than a $2 a day and an average age of 55, cocoa farmers are in danger of dying out. Farmers and Fairtrade are addressing this.

 

"Because cocoa production is based in such a small area, it is far more susceptible to political or environmental shocks."

“For every tonne of Fairtrade cocoa beans sold, the farmers’ cooperatives receive $200,” says Jon Walker, Fairtrade’s cocoa supply chain manager. “At current prices that is over 10% of the export price in Cote d’Ivoire. Farmer empowerment is critical to Fairtrade. The $200 per tonne Fairtrade Premium belongs to the farmers and they decide how to meet their sustainability needs. Typically, this includes investment in productivity on their farm by, for example, accessing fertiliser or investment in nurseries for new cocoa trees. Community investments such as a village school or a well for water can encourage the younger generation to stay in the rural communities rather than moving to the cities.”

 

"Fairtrade offers training and advice, and community investments, alongside monetary premiums for their product."

In addition to this $200 premium, Fairtrade offers the farmers free training. “They receive advice on subjects such as good agricultural practice, women’s empowerment, governance and financial management. The joint aim of farmers and Fairtrade are strong and empowered, thriving communities. Shoppers make this happen when they choose Fairtrade.” Jon says.