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Cocoa farmers are often forced to sell their harvest to middlemen who rig scales or misrepresent prices, and media reports of child slavery show the stark contrast between the delicious treat and the difficult conditions of the people who produce it.
Fair-trade cocoa offers farmers an opportunity to make a real living, as the fair-trade standards include a minimum price. A fair-trade premium is added to the purchase price and is used by cooperatives for social and economic investments such as education, health services, processing equipment and loans to members.
Also, the certification mark on a product provides consumers with the assurance that fair trade cocoa producers are regularly audited against the strict child labor standards that prohibit the worst form of child and forced labor.
Fair Trade certification ensures that farmers receive a fair price, allows farmers to invest in techniques that bring out the flavors of the region, and strictly prohibits slave and child labor.
Fair trade chocolate bars are made from cocoa beans which are bought for a fair price from farmers. Cocoa farmers are some of the poorest people in the world and many of them earn on average about $75 a year.
NOW WHAT – STUDENTS TAKE ACTION:
Students can make a difference by demanding your school carry fair trade chocolates for Valentine's Day and other school events instead of conventional chocolate which comes from exploited labor. IRTF has a Fair Trade grant program which can help your school start a Fair Trade program.