Everybody likes Fair Trade chocolate! At least, I do not know of anybody who does not like it . The good news about this is that you can enjoy the best chocolate and be sure that you are buying from producers who are being treated in a Fair way.
|Fairtrade chocolate. Photo by Noricum|
In ordinary cocoa plantations, pickers may be youngsters under 14 traded by their families and hold in near-slavery conditions; this, along with plummeting prices for raw cocoa beans accounts for the cheap chocolate we can get from large companies.
On the other hand, our chocolate starts by being fairly picked, paying a decent wage and banning child labor; fortunately, cocoa co-operatives are expanding and now some of them may gather several thousands of farmers. For example, Kuapa Kokoo, a large cooperative in Ghana which sells part of its production through Fair Trade channels, produces 1% of all cocoa in the world.
As with coffee, Fair Trade has come to alleviate poverty and exploitation by granting better working and living conditions to producers, as well as getting themselves organized and empowered to manage their own co-operatives.
It is important to point that you may find a final Fairtrade product ellaborated by makers located in the "North", altough the original materials come from far countries. It is like this because of tariffs: they are much lower for non-processed supplies than for processed goods, making importations of the final product non-competitive. Besides that, conditions during sea travelling and harbor storage could be less than optimal, deteriorating the chocolate bars. This does not happen as easily to cocoa butter or cocoa powder.
As of March 2009, Cadbury announced that their Cadbury dairy milk chocolate bar was going to be Fairtrade certified for the UK market. To me, this is good news, as many more cocoa producers can benefit from this movement.
So, enjoy the flavor of justice, empowerment, health for the poor and fine Fair Trade chocolate... they all come together!.
Fair Trade NGOs promote also health for the environment, so farmers are encouraged to reduce the use of agrochemicals, most of the time hazardous; however, full organic farming may be costly in the initial stages and not all chocolates may qualify. If your are looking for both Fair Trade and organic chocolate, I am sure that you can find a good one at your World Shop; anyway, may be I can help you with some hints...
To me, the unbeatable product!. Fair Trade and organic chocolate has it all: the delicious taste of a fine chocolate, the unique flavour of Fair Trade, i.e., knowing that people who produced it have earned a decent living, and the peace of mind that consuming organic brings to you.
|Equal Exchange Fair Trade chocolate bar|
Quite probably, you are already aware that most cocoa on the world is produced in Côte d'Ivoire, where child labor is common, often coming from stressed nearby countries. Also, cocoa crop is the second one on pesticide abuse, only after cotton. Fair Trade and organic chocolate puts a halt to this; in summary, neither people nor Nature have been exploited or degraded to produce your favourite product.
As the final product has several ingredients (cocoa, sugar, may be milk or dried fruits...), some or all of them can be organic. Also, may I remind here that certifications allows that part of the processing takes place in the "North" countries; there are tariff reasons for this.
If you happen to live in North America you can get it, for example, from Equal Exchange, who produces several specialties of certified chocolate.
Here in Spain, Mascao brand is readily available from many retailers. In fact, every afternoon that I am volunteering at Copade World Shop I buy a couple of them for myself (btw, my kid loves it too!).
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