Saturday, October 18

chocolate's bigger price

I love chocolate. Love, Love, LOVE it. Okay, will breeeeathe now.
I'm typing this and gorging eating some (Green & Black's) right now.

And we know our children love it too.

How many of us parents realise that not all chocolate, in fact, much of it, is harvested at the cost of many childhoods?

The Ivory Coast is the world's largest producer and exporter of cocoa, supplying 46% of the world cocoa production. West Africa, collectively supply nearly 80% of the world cocoa. Large chocolate producers such as Cadbury, Hershey's, and Nestle buy cocoa at commodities exchanges where Ivorian cocoa is mixed with other cocoa, as reported in a study by Oxfam.

Slave traders are trafficking boys ranging from the age of 12 to 16 from their home countries and are selling them to cocoa farmers. They work on small farms across the country, harvesting the cocoa beans day and night, under inhumane conditions.

There are about 600,000 cocoa farms in Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). Estimates of the number of children forced to work as slaves on these farms are as high as 15,000. In addition to the very illegality of trafficking and hiring children workers, the implicated cocoa farmers subject the children to inhuman living conditions. Besides overworking them, the farmers do not pay the children nor feed them properly-often times they are allowed to eat corn paste as their only meal. The denigration also includes locking the children up at night to prevent escape.

The effect of being sold into slave labor has the obvious physical scars from the constant beatings the children receive, their inhumane living conditions, and the practical starvation that the farmers impose on them. However, the effects of slavery do not merely affect the physical well-being of the children. They also suffer from emotional scars. Psychologists say that children subjected to slave labor are irrevocably changed. "Being a slave is often a process of systematic destruction of a person's mind, body, and spirit."

The horrendous conditions under which children must toil on the cocoa farms are even more jarring when the facts are juxtaposed with the idea that much of this cocoa will ultimately end up producing something that most people associate with happiness and pleasure
american university



Your best bet is to buy Fair Trade chocolate that has the legitimate fair trade mark:

Also, the Ivory Coast doesn't produce organic beans (as far as I can determine), so organic chocolate is a 2nd option.

We, as consumers, have a power. Your chocolate recipe shouldn't be tainted with the pains of child slaves.

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4 comments:

  1. Hear, hear! Great post.

    This is an issue very close to my heart. A few years back my family and I made the decision to only ever buy fair trade chocolate and coffee (the coffee industry is similarly problematic). It really is a horrific situation.
    There are some beautiful organic, fair trade chocolates available now.

    I adore Green and Black, but I now have concerns about them since they have been bought by Cadbury, (who derive their non-organic chocolate from dubious sources).

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  2. what!!?? This is news to me! research......

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  3. Unfortunately docwitch is right. G&B was bought out by Cadbury. I share docwitch's concern's. When big companies buy out the smaller competition are they really staying fair trade?

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4543583.stm

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  4. thanks for the link plantain. Cadbury has a terrible track record and I'm baffled as to why G&B would sell (out) to them.

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