Sometimes the cost of chocolate is measured in more ways than just monetary terms.
Encouraging Sustainable and Responsible Cocoa Growing.
WCF The World Cocoa Foundation
“The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) was formed in 2000 to address these issues. Today, it plays a leading role in helping cocoa farming families by developing and managing effective, on-the-ground programs, raising funds and acting as a forum for broad discussion of the cocoa farming sector’s needs.”
Before you pop a piece of mouthwatering chocolate into your mouth, take a minute to be responsible. The WCF helped to develop the Harkin-Engel Protocol in response to the reports of child labor and forced adult labor conditions in West African Farms.
What emerged from the Protocol were the following guidelines:
Goal : Improve the lives of children and adults on cocoa farms – with a focus on cocoa farming labor practices
Approach: Collect information from cocoa farms on labor practices, related issues
Use this information to direct resources, guide programs – to address problem issues
Output: Individual West African governments issue a certification report which provides a detailed review of labor issues in their cocoa farming sectors, and identifies required actions to address specific issues
Credibility: Employ independent verification to ensure transparency, credibility
Outcome: Continued progress in ensuring that cocoa is grown responsibly, without the worst forms of child labor or forced adult labor; a continued reduction in unacceptable labor practices
Here are some cocoa farming facts:
Number of cocoa farmers, worldwide: 5-6 million
Number of people who depend upon cocoa for their livelihood, worldwide: 40-50 million
Annual cocoa production, worldwide: 3 million tons
Annual increase in demand for cocoa: 3 percent per year, for the past 100 years
Current global market value of annual cocoa crop: $5.1 billion
Cocoa growing regions: Africa, Asia, Central America, South America (all within 20 degrees of the equator)
Percentage of cocoa that comes from West Africa: 70 percent
Length of time required for a cocoa tree to produce its first beans (pods): five years
Duration of “peak growing period” for the average cocoa tree: 10 years
How You Can Help
"Each day, several million hardworking farmers take to the cocoa fields to carefully tend to their cocoa trees and harvest the crop. Millions more depend upon their success.
These farmers are dedicated, hardworking and passionate about growing the cocoa that makes the chocolate loved by so many worldwide. But they face tremendous challenges. They need help.
The World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) works to help cocoa farmers, their families and their communities. WCF programs are helping cocoa farmers earn more for their crop, improving the quality of education for their children, and ensuring that cocoa is grown in a safe, responsible manner.
And, with your support, the WCF can do more.
Whether it’s raising awareness or providing support for a WCF program, you can make a difference in the lives of hard-working farming families who depend upon cocoa for their livelihood."
As Southeast Asia has entered into cocoa production, the WCF has put in place the following programs:
World Cocoa Foundation Programs in Southeast Asia:
Help farmers earn more for their cocoa crop through improved productivity, reduced crop loss and innovative farming practices
Organize farmers to help them sell their product in bulk and negotiate a better price paid for cocoa.”
Why am I patial to Hershey’s Chocolate?
Read this: http://www.thehersheycompany.com/social-responsibility/environmental-stewardship/cocoa.asp
Just take a moment to do a little research. Just as we support our American farmers and our natural, locally grown foods, we should be aware of the complexities of farmers around the globe and what industries are supportive and what industries are not. What major food producers follow the humanitarian path in assisting global farmers evolve with help and dignity and what food producers resist the Protocol and continue to support child labor atrocities.
Here is a list of the WCF Member Companies;
“Chocolate companies world wide have given enthusiastic support to the WCF to encourage the safeguarding the welfare of cocoa farmers in producing companies.”
Thank you for reading this rant of mine. As a Chocolatier, I find the cocoa industry immensely fascinating and sometimes filled with information that allows us to make a choice to support certain products and not support others. Hugs.