Well, maybe not just chocolate but definitely more FAIR TRADE chocolate!
Forced child labour is still used in the cocoa production worldwide. I am not describing children helping on family farms after school or during the school holidays, I'm referring to work that is harmful to the child's physical and mental health, the child's development and interferes with their education. In 2001 a US study estimated that 109,000 children were working in Cote de Ivoire, where 40% of our world's cocoa is grown, and more than 2 million children worldwide are working in cocoa production. This work includes using machetes, dangerous chemicals and carrying heavy loads.
In Australia, we love chocolate, but the horrible reality is that 70% of Cocoa farmers live on less $2.00 per day.
This takes the sweetness out of chocolate for me!
Fair Trade rocks for Cocoa farmers! Fair Trade Producer Organisations must provide proof that there is no child or forced labour used in the production of their cocoa beans. Small producers are helped to form democratic co-operatives which gain a larger share of the cocoa market. The Fair Trade buyer ensures honest dealings, fair pay and enhances sustainability for the cocoa bean. Each farmer organisation is also given opportunities for further education including agricultural practices, marketing, quality control and sustainable/organic farming practices. The farmer co-op has also paid an extra 'premium' of $200.00 per ton of cocoa beans for use in the development of their own community. In a study of 2000 farmers in an area of Ivory Coast, it was found that the fair trade bonus or 'premium' was used to build new schools, increase teacher accommodation, provide school lunches, uniforms and the necessary birth certificates for unregistered children. In this area school attendance increased from 65 % to 80% in just one year.
At The Fair Trader, we have been stocking delicious chocolate from Divine, Madecasse Chocolate, and a new brand, Tonantzin Chocolate. All of these brands use Fair Trade cocoa to create their yummy chocolate flavours. As I munch on our chocolate in-store, I have realised the sweetness is decreased and the flavour is much more intense. None of our chocolate has less than 45 per cent cocoa and the added flavours are not artificially created but come from real fruits and flavours. There are far fewer calories and much more flavour!
We can smile as we devour our Easter chocolate knowing that the farmers who grew the cocoa are fairly paid, and their children are free to run and play, go to school and learn. The MORE we eat the better the cocoa community is to be able to grow and thrive!
Let's do it!
That is chocolate worth eating! YUM!