It may be hard to swallow but many of the people behind our most-loved food still live in extreme poverty. It is a scandal that behind the sweet delight of chocolate lies the bitter taste of exploitation.
The UK chocolate industry is worth at least £4 billion each year.
And yet the average cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, where 60 percent of all cocoa is grown, makes less than 75p a day.
This is well below the extreme poverty line of around £1.40 per day.
If this wasn’t enough to cope with, the climate crisis is already wreaking havoc on global food production. Farmers are battling less predictable seasons, more plant diseases and weather extremes, leading to a lack of food. They are suffering, struggling to harvest crops and working longer hours, for lower prices.
For women, the situation is even more unfair. In Côte d’Ivoire, for example, women carry out more than two thirds of the labour involved in cocoa farming. They work in the fields, look after children, carry water, and help bring the crop to market. And yet they often have fewer rights than men, and often earn less than a quarter of the money generated.
That’s why the Fairtrade Foundation have launched the “She Deserves a Living Income” campaign last year.
But to achieve real change in this bitter-sweet industry we need to keep speaking up for cocoa farmers, and keep our communities involved in writing the next, sweeter, chapter in their story.
This is the focus of Fairtrade Fortnight which runs from 24th February to 8th March. You can read more on the Fairtrade Foundation website or by talking to Lydia or Hannah.
And you can purchase Fairtrade chocolate and other items on the Fairtrade stall on Sunday mornings after the service!