Some cocoa industry experts think that rising demand for the cocoa beans that go into making our chocolate will lead to a worldwide shortage of cocoa within five years. It could mean you pay more for your 3pm chocolate fix, bars get smaller or – choc horror – chocolate could disappear altogether.
A big reason for this is that there aren’t enough younger people going into cocoa farming. Growing and harvesting the cocoa is physically demanding and the current generation of cocoa famers are coming up to retirement. Young people don’t see a future in it for themselves, having seen their parents struggle for years on very low incomes.
Fairtrade farmers are raising the (chocolate) bar. They are working hard to keep the cocoa flowing and tackle these issues so you can carry on enjoying your sweet treat for years to come.
Replacing ageing trees and applying fertilizers and pesticides are expensive but hugely important in improving the amount of cocoa beans grown, giving famers more to sell and the next generation productive trees! Basilio Almonte, Technical Manager and agronomist at CONACADO cocoa co- operative in Dominican Republic, explains: ‘We are renewing the farm for the present, to improve productivity, but we’re also preparing for the future. So when the next generation comes, they won’t need to plant new trees.’
Fairtrade cocoa farmers are working to improve their cocoa crop by investing in modern farming methods to make sure their farms are producing more high quality beans. Farmer groups invest an average of 46 percent of the Fairtrade Premium* in these improvement projects.
Fairtrade farmers are also using the Fairtrade Premium* to build schools, health centres and provide safe water for their communities.
Aminata Bamba, Head of Sustainability at ECOOKIM cocoa co-operative in Côte d’Ivoire, explains that more of the community understands the benefits of sending their children to school. ‘We tell the members, “If you send your children to school, they can come back to the farm when they have finished their education and help you increase the revenue on your farm through better planning and business management.” This more sustainable approach gives greater hope for the future which in turn means your favourite chocolate snack stays stocked on shelves.