Chocolate is one of the world’s favourite foods (it’s definitely ours) but growing cocoa is a hard task. Ninety percent of the world’s cocoa is grown on small family farms by around 6 million farmers who earn their living from growing and selling cocoa beans. Cocoa trees grow in tropical environments, within 15 to 20 degrees latitude from the equator. The ideal climate for growing cocoa is hot, rainy and tropical with lush vegetation to provide shade for the cocoa trees. Cocoa is a delicate and sensitive crop, 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. For all this hard work, cocoa farmers gain very little from a very profitable global cocoa trade.
Our cocoa beans are from the Dominican Republic, where cocoa is grown by around 40,000 small-scale cocoa growers. Fairtrade support farmers in the Dominican Republic; schools have been built and repaired, with scholarships and equipment provided to students from poorer families. In the cooperative we source our beans from, a new IT centre has been built to help children with school work whilst bringing the internet to the community. A clinic, free medical checks, and clean water projects are improving health. Yay! Fairtrade makes things better; it’s a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow the things we love (and we really do love chocolate)! Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fairtrade aims to make cocoa farming more sustainable so farmers can better provide for themselves and their families. We share Fairtrade’s vision: a world in which all producers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future. (Information taken from www.fairtrade.org.uk)