Recently, while on a shopping trip, I was hungry for my after dinner piece of chocolate. I am one of those chocolate lovers who indulges in a small piece of chocolate (very dark chocolate) after each meal and here I was out shopping and no piece of chocolate. Finally I stopped and bought a delicious candy bar of dark chocolate, broke off a piece and started to enjoy the wonderful taste when it dawned on me I had purchased a regular candy bar not a Fair Trade chocolate bar.
At home I keep Fair Trade chocolate bars in the cupboard and enjoy a piece each day but in my hurry I just grabbed a bar that was at the checkout counter without checking to see if it was Fair Trade. Well now, surely, buying one chocolate bar won’t hurt and it sure won’t help that much you say!
Here are some facts about cocoa/chocolate and Fair Trade:
- About 6 billion pounds of cocoa are produced around the world each year.
- America ate over 3 billion pounds of chocolate and spent over $13 billion on it.
- The farmers that grow the chocolate beans make only about 5 cents per pound on their chocolate.
- A UNICEF reports states that some farmers on the Ivory Coast use child slaves.
- 90% of the world’s cocoa is grown on small farms of 12 acres or less.
- In 2000, Fair Trade cooperatives produced 89 billion pounds of cocoa but only 3 billion pounds were able to be sold at Fair Trade prices.
- Fair Trade certified production guarantees that no child or forced labor was used.
- Farmers involved with Fair Trade cocoa cooperatives receive many benefits: a guaranteed minimum price, help with their businesses, access to advance credit, and many local benefits to their community such as schools and hospitals.
These facts are from TransFairUSA and Global Exchange and each organization has a wealth of information about Fair Trade on their websites.
It is so easy to look for Fair Trade products at the store and then remember the brand names to buy them again. Ask the store managers where you shop what Fair Trade products he carries. When you think of all the single candy bars that are sold each and every day, can you imagine the difference it would make to the lives of so many children and their families!
One little candy bar surely can’t hurt ——— or can it???