Over 90% of the world's cocoa is produced on small, family managed farms, primarily in West Africa and Latin America. Due to the collecting and exporting process of cocoa, most farmers are unaware of the value of their cocoa.
Corporations exploit this and pay low prices for the product. Due to the very low prices paid and rising cost's of farming, child and slave labor is used. It's estimated that 2.1 million West African children still do the dangerous and physically taxing work of harvesting cocoa, instead of attending school.
Fair Trade cocoa certification was created to overcome these problems. The market price for cocoa fluctuates and certification creates a minimum price the farmer must be paid per tonne. The farmers receive either the market price or the Fair Trade minimum, whichever is higher. This gives financial stability and a better quality of life to farmers and their families.
Fair Trade also works with farmers to make sure they meet environmental standards. The majority of cocoa production in West Africa is not environmentally sustainable. To ensure cocoa production has a future, Fair Trade standards include sustainable irrigation practices, crop rotation, prohibiting GMO crops, safe use of only legal pesticides and proper hazardous waste disposal.
The global chocolate industry is now worth $100 billion and growing every year. International human rights organisations agree that Fair Trade cocoa is a means of ending the use of child labour and guaranteeing a sustainable future for cocoa production. However they concluded that the industry will not adopt Fair Trade certification and practices until consumers demonstrate a preference for fair trade cocoa through their chocolate purchasing choices.
Only 1% of the worlds chocolate produced yearly is Fair Trade. Start making a positive change for Millions of children and their family's and ensuring a sustainable future for chocolate today.