Women to the front: how Fairtrade addresses gender equity
Chocolate is one of the world’s favourite sweet treats, but the conditions that cocoa farmers face would leave you with a bitter taste.
I’ve seen that Fairtrade has helped us a lot in cocoa farming. The Fairtrade Premium has enabled us to do many things, especially women.ROSINE BEKOIN
COCOA FARM OWNER, CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Most of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms, of which around 70% are in West African countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Cocoa is a delicate and sensitive crop, and farmers must protect trees from wind, sun, pests, and disease. With proper care, cocoa trees begin to yield pods at peak production levels by the fifth year, and they can continue at this level for 10 years. But for all this hard work, cocoa farmers gain very little from a very profitable global cocoa trade.
Among the many challenges faced by cocoa farmers, child labour is endemic in the sector. While it is a complex issue rooted in poverty, young people should never be abused or exploited for hazardous work rather than being allowed to learn, play, and develop as children should. The Fairtrade Standards have a number of criteria intended to prohibit child labour, and our youth-led approach in the countries where it is most common complements our work with governments and other NGOs to eradicate the practice.
The IISD estimates there are nearly 6 million cocoa farmers worldwide, 90% of which are smallholder farmers, and many of which have never tasted chocolate.
On average, cocoa farmers earn just 6% of the final value of a bar of chocolate.
Climate experts predict that a 3.8°F increase in temperatures and drier conditions may drastically shrink cocoa growing areas by 2050.
Fairtrade works with 457,347 small-scale cocoa farmers. According to our most recent data, Fairtrade cocoa farmers receive more than $66 million Premium each year.
Fairtrade cocoa farmers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price for their goods, which acts as a safeguard when market prices drop. Organic production is incentivized with a higher Minimum Price.
On top of the Minimum Price, farmer organizations also receive a Fairtrade Premium which they invest in projects of their choice. Many farmers have used the Premium to improve their businesses and production, replacing old trees and investing in better facilities for crop collection, storage and transport, or processing.
The confectionary industry is highly consolidated, and Fairtrade works with key industry players to enable them to source large volumes of sustainably produced cocoa. More sales mean more benefits for farmers.
Fairtrade is also pushing the envelope to establish living incomes for small-scale farmers. If we want cocoa in the future, cocoa farmers need to earn a decent and viable living from their work.
By supporting smallholder farmers to organize themselves into small producer organizations – such as cooperatives and associations – farmers can negotiate better terms of trade and reach wider markets.
We’re proud to work with Canadian companies who choose to source Fairtrade. Now you can support your local brands dedicated to making trade fair by shopping Fairtrade local.
Working with Fairtrade makes a direct difference in the lives and communities of the people that produce the products we love. Hear it from the farmers and workers themselves.