Why is Fair Trade Chocolate important and what exactly is it?

The world’s appetite for cocoa is booming. And yet cocoa farmers around the world often struggle to make a living, despite their position as the source of a highly prized commodity.
Widespread poverty, deforestation, gender inequality, child labour and forced labour are persistent problems in the cocoa sector which could ultimately destroy it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
Fairtrade is helping to change the cocoa business for the better in a number of ways. When you choose Fairtrade cocoa and chocolate, you are supporting this drive for change.

Peru is a producer of some of the world’s finest cacao beans and chocolate products. 60% of the world’s cocoa varieties are indigenous to the Amazon basin area. Peru is the world’s13th largest exporter of cacao and the second-largest organic cacao exporter. The organic market is growing. This, and the fact that the cacao plant is an environmentally friendly crop, makes Peruvian chocolate a not-so-guilty pleasure. In Peru, over one quarter of cacao production is certified as organic, fair trade, and/or sustainable. The variety of different cacao beans grown in Peru is one of the reasons for such a quality product but ensuring the farmers who grow the beans are supported to ensure sustainable, ethical production is key.

This is why Fairtrade chocolate should be the only chocolate anyone buys. Many consumers may not realise the long process to produce cacao beans to create the chocolate products you can enjoy as a consumer. From sowing to cultivation of plantations, to drying, roasting, refining to get to the final product is a long process that requires a lot of work and skill. Fine chocolate is a luxury product and you may not know it at first glance, but chocolate products go through a lengthy process to earn the Fair Trade Certified™ seal. It is not an easy process to receive the Fair Trade Certification but it ensures a more sustainably-made chocolate – that will become even more widely available the more the consumer choses this type of chocolate.

The Fairtrade mark on your chocolate purchase means Fairtrade has helped farmers get a secure, stable price that protects them from market crashes This provides farmers in disadvantaged communities with the funds to send their children to school, and grow their business, or to address other appropriate needs, such as investments in solar energy or building a health clinic. So far, Fairtrade chocolate has generated millions of dollars for farmers in West Africa and Latin America.

But there is still much to do. Just 10 percent of the world’s cocoa is sold on Fairtrade terms, so it is important that all chocolate lovers out there understand the real power you have as consumers.

If you are a chocolate-maker and would like to know more about importing Fairtrade Chocolate please send an email to info@goodfood.com.au 

If you are an importer and would like more information on the Peruvian cocoa please contact:
Mario Vargas, Trade Commissioner of Peru
Ph: 02 9222 4090
Email: mvargasd@promperu.gob.pe