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By buying Fairtrade chocolate, you can help cocoa farmers work their way out of poverty.
Chocolate is a sweet indulgence for most of us. But for many cocoa farmers, the reality of the chocolate industry is anything but sweet.
More than 70 per cent of the world’s cocoa is grown in tropical West Africa, where over 10 million people are dependent on cocoa farming for their income. But the low prices of commodities like cocoa mean that poverty is widespread amongst the cocoa farming communities.
Most villages lack basic services such as clean water and education. Villagers often have to walk for several hours a day to collect water and often this water is dirty, contributing to the spread of disease.
In some cases, low incomes mean the children of farmers need to work in order to help the family make ends meet. As well as being deprived of an education, children are often engaged in dangerous work, such as using machetes and applying toxic pesticides. Even more worrying is the well-documented use of child slaves on cocoa farms – particularly in the Ivory Coast.
Fairtrade standards prohibit the use of forced labour and children are not allowed to work if it jeopardises their education or health and they are not allowed to carry out dangerous tasks. Fairtrade cooperatives are inspected annually for compliance with Fairtrade standards, so problems such as child labour can be identified and addressed promptly.
Fairtrade addresses the root causes of child labour – widespread poverty amongst cocoa growing communities, which puts pressure on farmers to use the cheapest labour available. Fairtrade guarantees a premium for farmers over and above the world price, enabling them to invest in local development projects like schools, healthcare and drinking water for their communities.
Fairtrade Certified chocolate is now widely available in supermarkets throughout New Zealand.
Look for the Fairtrade Label – your independent guarantee that a product is Fairtrade.