Cocoa beans are a food item and the quality is highest after fermentation and drying, with time the quality degenerates.
During Colonial Times the giant players in the market of dealing and producing chocolate established their wealth and position in this industry. In 1946-48 companies in UK like Cadbury wanted to form a Cartel against the cocoa farmer in Ghana to dictate unto them their prices. Ghanaian cocoa farmer boycotted their idea by refusing to export cocoa beans. It took the intervention of the than UK Government to establish “normality” between both interest groups. This spirit in the leading producers of today is still very present in the market being reflected in the “FairTrade” chocolate, an exploitation of the cocoa farmer and depriving them of their moral right to be in charge of this industry and not the white man.
“FairTrade” means working conditions to modern standards (protective clothes during chemicals application, no child labour among others) and the promise by the “FairTrade” organizations to give a “fair” price to the cocoa farmers above the ICCO (re-located to Abidjan, Ivory Coast in 2017 from London, UK)) daily fixed price. These organizations have not produced any credible scientific evidence demonstrating they are the only market player that pays above the ICCO price or higher than a buyer that does not get involved in the logo of “FairTrade”.
Asking Ghana’s 800.000 cocoa farmer which price they would call a “fair” price, 1, 6 Mio. different prices would be mentioned as each farmer has a wife that wants to see her children attending the best possible school. The “FairTrade” organizations come to the farmer with their price idea as they claim, any higher price would not be acceptable to the consumer in the developed world, again a statement not based on evidence and facts or the attempt to engage in more creative marketing approach to get the extra money needed from the consumer but their assumption of the market situation. For that reason it is not the cocoa farmer that can ever get a “fair’ price, but a price determined by the “FairTrade” organizations. In a market situation it can never be established something that honestly can be called a “fair” price, it is, for various reasons, a power play between seller and buyer, neither fair nor unfair, simply a market price in which the “FairTrade” Organization is the stronger player.
For a worker in a EU manufacturing company it is the same whether producing chocolate, biscuits, condoms, frozen cakes, beer, spirits or soft-drinks, for Africans it is their identity and future of coming generations. In Germany the minimum salary per Hour stands at approx. Euro 9, 00, in Ghana per Day approx. Euro 2, 00. At the South African Supermarket chain in Accra, 100 gr chocolate bar from Ritter Sport (Germany) and Lindt (Switzerland) cost approx. Euro 3, 00; 80 gr from Cadbury (UK) approx. Euro 1, 80 of “conventional” quality. In Ghana locally produced chocolate 100 gr from Niche Ltd approx. Euro 1, 80 (simple quality), CPC Ltd approx. Euros 2, 00 (poor quality). The least Ghanaian worker (majority of citizen in the country) works a whole day for one bar of chocolate, his German counterpart 7 minutes only (is this normal and acceptable?). “FairTrade” chocolate will widen the gap as initiated by the white man until 2020! This chocolate is dangerous as it gives the white consumer the wrong impression about the implications involved for more generations of consumers to come, a sustainable misleading of people wanting to enjoy chocolate in the comfort of their homes in peace.
The consumer in the developed world is not aware of the fact that profit is made in trading and processing of cocoa beans, not the raw material. The production is in Europe or USA, the chocolate bar sold in Africa comes from there and as the manufacturer increase the price of a “FairTrade” chocolate by the increased price of buying plus a hidden increase in profit margin of the manufacturers, the cocoa farmer in Ghana finds it more difficult to buy for his crying son chocolate for Christmas and Birthday as the White Man standing before his son covered in tears holds up his “FairTrade” chocolate higher in price than “conventional” chocolate with a good conscious and pride of higher money paid for the “FairTrade” chocolate, as the father has no money in his pocket left to anymore buy the Christmas chocolate for the son, only for his birthday as it is the price that makes it impossible in the cocoa farming countries to eat as much chocolate products as in the developed world that do not grow cocoa beans at all but have the monopoly in the processing sector of them.
The increase in price of cocoa beans goes directly into the pockets of the “FairTrade” organizations, other involved traders and manufacturers; no wonder that this industry, unlike in the natural rubber business, has never ever seen rich farmers.
As cocoa beans are a food item, a production in the countries of origin would ensure the highest quality possible from the freshest beans. 2-3 months transportation from West-Africa to Hamburg/Germany and to the manufacturer in Europe kills many cocoa beans on the way making it wonder in modern days, why consumers in the developed world would like to enjoy chocolate made from old age “pensioner beans” that spend one months on ships side by side with “dead cocoa beans” as quite a number of beans are dead when arriving in Hamburg and must be sorted out. What is produced in Europe is produced from second class cocoa beans and appreciated by Millions that have no clue about this industry…and pay a high price this days thinking “FairTrade” chocolate is a good idea while in fact it is stealing Africans of their own business and identity and not telling the consumers back home the truth. So sad…so sad.
Africa, you better wake up and take charge of your own future as the white man will not do the job for you!
Author: Dipl.-Pol. Karl-Heinz Heerde, Sakumono, Tema West, Ghana, phone +233(0)265078287, firstname.lastname@example.org, 05.07.2017