The Fair Trade Coffee Company

Est. 2001


The Fair Trade Coffee Company | Flavor + Social Awareness / Articles  / Buy Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate online

Buy Organic and Fair Trade Chocolate online

Aaahh, chocolate! Loved the world over as a dessert, a treat, a gift for lovers, and a pick-me-up at any time of the day. The anti-depressant benefits of chocolate are well known. There is even research that shows chocolate is actually good for your health. Chocolate contains a type of antioxidant called flavonoids that are good for your heart’s health. These same studies have shown that, contrary to popular opinion, chocolate does not cause or aggravate acne or tooth decay, making chocolate not just a tasty treat, but a beneficial addition to your diet.

child labor abuse

Unfortunately, the farming and harvesting of the cocoa used to make chocolate is not so good for the health of the many children in Africa and Central America who are forced to work in the cocoa field, often as slave labor. This is because the farmers who grow cocoa see the barest amount of profit from the sale of the raw cocoa. This has led to the growing use of children and slave labor to harvest and prepare the raw cocoa.

It takes 400 cocoa pods to make one pound of chocolate and these pods must be hand picked. Child and slave labor is used to pick and slice open the pods from dawn to dusk. The harvesters use machetes to cut the pods from the cocoa plants, working around dangerous insecticides and pesticides. The children are often beaten.

In addition to the damage done to the children who are forced to work in the cocoa fields, damage is done to the environment. Vast tracts of rain forest have been wiped out in order to clear land for more cocoa cultivation in order to meet the market’s demand for more and more cocoa. These huge tracts of cocoa fields are not grown in the traditional manner, under cover of large trees, in order to increase the number of cocoa plants that can be grown per acre. This creates problems with insects and necessitates the use of massive amounts of insecticides and pesticides, which are a hazard to the water supply and even the air of the communities close to the cocoa fields. The fields are not rotated, which drains the nutrients out of the soil and destroys the biodiversity of plant and animal life.

fair trade and chocolate

The Fair Trade Association was established in an effort to bring about changes in the way cocoa is currently being grown and sold on the market. The farmers who sell cocoa to the Fair Trade Association are guaranteed a fair price for the cocoa they grow. In return, the farmers who work with the Fair Trade Association are not allowed to use child or slave labor to cultivate their crops. The farmers also make enough of a profit to be able to rotate their crops and are able to revert to the traditional method of growing cocoa plants under the protection of large trees in order to protect the plants from insects. In fact, farmers working with the Fair Trade system are required to use an integrated crop management system that, among other things, bans the use of several pesticides. Farmers are not required to grow organically certified cocoa crops but they are paid extra for certified organically grown crops, which encourages the use of organic techniques.

But who really makes money from fair trade chocolate? There are over 42,000 cocoa farmers working to bring Fair Trade Chocolate to the market. However, some major chocolate manufacturers still refuse to work with the Fair Trade Associate in the purchase of cocoa for the manufacture of their products. Consumers can encourage these manufactures to work with the Fair Trade Association by making a concerted effort to purchase Fair Trade. Retail listings for organic dark chocolate fair trade products can be found on many Internet web sites.

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