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Fairtrade plea for cocoa farmers

Thomas Baldwin reports on the theme around this year’s Fairtrade Fortnight.

THIS year’s Fairtrade Fortnight is continuing to focus on the people – in particular the women – who grow the cocoa in our chocolate.

The annual celebration of Fairtrade, which this year takes place from Monday February 24 to Sunday March 8, is continuing the campaign for a living income for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

The Fairtrade Foundation says that the average cocoa farmer in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana earns less than 75p per day – well below the extreme poverty line of around £1.40 a day. The situation, they say, is even worse for women, who often do the majority of the work while having fewer rights and bringing in less money than men.

And to make matters worse, the climate crisis is bringing with it less predictable seasons, more extreme weather events and more plant diseases, so life is even harder for poor farmers.

The organisers say that in 2019 Fairtrade Fortnight events reached a million people, and that since there have been notable successes. On August 7, Fairtrade campaigners and staff handed in a signature with more than 50,000 signatures calling for the UK government to back cocoa farmers fighting for a fairer deal.

In October, the Fairtrade Minimum Price for conventional cocoa was raised from $2,000 to $2,400 per tonne, marking a 20 percent increase. For organically farmed cocoa, the Fairtrade Minimum Price will be $2,700. And the Fairtrade Premium increased from $200 to $240 per metric ton, the highest fixed premium of any certification.

Meanwhile, Fairtrade welcomed announcements by the governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana that they will increase the farm gate price of cocoa for all farmers in October 2020, by requiring companies to pay an extra Living Income Differential on all cocoa exports.

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