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Cocoa producers demand more Fair Trade

by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)

Chocolate muffins on plates, hands grasping
If we want to continue to have access to chocolate, the prices for cocoa will have to rise, according to a statement made at the confectionery trade fair in Cologne. Symbol image © Shutterstock/Africa Studio

If we want to continue to have access to chocolate, the prices for cocoa have to rise, according to a statement made at the confectionery trade fair in Cologne. Symbol image © Shutterstock/Africa Studio

In 2017, the world cocoa market price collapsed by more than a third. The resulting dramatic revenue losses were an important topic at the International Confectionery Fair (ISM) in Cologne.

Sales of Fairtrade cocoa have risen

Gerhard Müller, Federal Minister for Development Cooperation, highlighted the bitter side of chocolate: "Breadline wages, poverty, child labour. We finally have to pay people fair prices so that the farmers can live on their income and no longer have to let children slave away on the plantations," said Müller, announcing a strategic partnership with the seal organisation Transfair. The latter explained that according to initial projections, Fairtrade cocoa sales in Germany in 2018 had risen by a good 35% to around 50,000 tons. This brings the market share of fair-trade cocoa to 10%.

Minimum price for Fairtrade cocoa raised

But many Fairtrade farmers, especially in West Africa, also live below the poverty line. This is partly due to the fact that, on average, the cooperatives only sell 35 to 40% of their harvest under Fairtrade conditions. The rest goes to the conventional market, as Transfair Managing Director Dieter Overath explained.

However, the minimum price for cocoa, which Fair Trade uses to cushion fluctuations in world market prices, is also too low. Fairtrade International therefore raised this minimum price by 20% in autumn 2018. The higher prices "are a step to get out of the red zone," explained Jon Walker, responsible for cocoa at Fairtrade International, at the ISM.

Cocoa cultivation must be worthwhile

Parallel to the minimum prices, Fairtrade International had also determined a reference price that cocoa farmers in Ivory Coast and Ghana would have to receive in order to earn a living. It is once again well above the raised minimum price.

Adama Diarrassouba, director of the cocoa cooperative ECAKOG in Ivory Coast, said that the price increase was an important step towards a better income for the small farmers and added: "In the long term, the cocoa supply chain can only be secured if the cultivation is worthwhile for the people".

Link tip: The cocoa barometer describes the situation of cocoa farmers in West Africa.


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