28.12.2016

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A new study compiled for the French Fair Trade Platform suggests that fair trade ensuring that cocoa producers earn enough to cover their production costs and the basic needs of their families can improve the sustainability of the cocoa chain.

The demand for cocoa and cocoa products is growing steadily on a global scale. The bulk of the world’s cocoa production comes from smallholders. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), between five and six million farmers grow the plant on plots under five hectares. But cocoa processing and chocolate manufacturing is almost exclusively carried out by a handful of transnational corporations. Just six of these giants account for 50 per cent of the global chocolate market. Small farmers lack information on market conditions and negotiating power to confront the major manufacturers, so that most of them are unable to achieve prices for their produce that would lift them above the poverty line. Downward pressure on smallholders frequently forces them to resort to short-term strategies such as chemical inputs and deforestation to boost productivity and child labour to cut labour costs.

“The Dark Side of Chocolate” is an analysis of conventional, sustainable and fair trade cocoa chains that was prepared for the French Fair Trade Platform by the Paris-based Bureau for the Appraisal of Societal Impacts and Costs (BASIC).

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