Producto / Cocoa

Only eight countries produce about 90% of cocoa worldwide, and more than 11 million people in Africa and the Americas depend on cocoa to make their living. For many countries in western Africa cocoa is the primary source of income from foreign countries. Such is the case in Ghana, where cocoa brings in 40% of income from exports, and Equatorial Guinea, where cocoa brings in 65%.

The majority of cocoa worldwide is grown by small farmers in low-intensity agricultural systems with unpredictable infrastructures. Its production is usually relatively low, which makes it difficult to have an income large enough to cover their basic needs. Additionally, the barriers that industrialized nations build to protect their markets obligates small farmers to sell their goods at a very low price to intermediaries who, conscious that many farmers depend on them to sel their harvest, use their power to lower the prices even further and get more profits.

Today cocoa is sold at a price lower than that of the 1980´s. This is due in part to the arrival in August 2003 of the European regulation 2000/36/EC, which permits the substitution of other vegetable oils instead of cocoa butter in chocolate. This decision represented a serious setback for cocoa-producing countries, but a great advantage for the chocolate industry, which could diminish its dependence on cocoa and utilize cheaper materials in the manufacturing of chocolate.

It takes 400 cocoa pods to make 450 grams of chocolate. Because of this, there has been an increase in child labor and slavery in countries like Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo. In 2001, the Worldwide Labor Organization reported the existence of child slavery in many cocoa farms in the Ivory Coast, which produces 43% of cocoa in the world. Earlier studies conducted by the Tropical Agriculture Institute revealed that 284,000 children from ages 9 to 12 worked in cocoa farms in western Africa in dangerous conditions. Of these children, 12,000 that participated in the study were working because they were victims of human trafficking.

Fair Trade cocoa offers farmers the opportunity to earn a decent salary, and a guarantee that its manufacturing did not involve child labor or slavery.

Divine Chocolate Limited

In Ghana in 1997 the members of Kuapa Kokoo decided to create a chocolate company with the best cocoa bean products. In association with Twin Trading, Body Shop, Christian Aid, and Comic Relief, the company was founded in the U.K. in 1998. In 2007 it became a subsidiary of the U.S.
The business model of Divine Chocolate is unique even in the Fair Trade sector because the majority of the company´s actions are decided by the members of Kuapa Kokoo. Because of this it was named Best Ethical Business by The Observer in 2008 and Best Social Business in 2007.

Fotografía superior derecha: Kennet Haygaard

Fotografía inferior izquierda: Kennet Haygaard

Fotografía recuadro: Kennet Haygaard

This English translation has been possible thanks to the project: Free translation of websites for NGOs and non-profit-making organizations. A project managed by Mondo Services. Translator: Leigh Siderhurst


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