Fighting for a Living Income for Cocoa Farmers

Fighting for a living income for cocoa farmers

Our new pop-up site https://traffikfreechocolate.com.au is full of interesting facts, activities and suggestions on making a difference in child labour and trafficking in the cocoa growing communities. This year’s Easter chocolate campaign stresses the importance of a living income. The ask to chocolate companies is to ensure that they are working towards insuring all cocoa farmers a living income. This is a factor that could be monumental in ending child labour in the cocoa farming communities, but what is a living income, why do we need it, and what can you do to help?

What is a living income:

A living income is crucial worldwide to any person who wishes to work a sustainable and profitable job and be able to secure a decent standard of living. A living income is described as the net income for every member of a household to reach an acceptable standard of living. A living income is supported and recommended for cocoa farmers by respected institutions such as the Universal Declaration for Human Rights and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The UN Development Goals describes a living income as one that guarantees a ‘basic but decent lifestyle’. Living income is the persons pay minus expenses, and expenses are broken down into three categories: food, housing and everything else. The estimated expenses are assessed in food and housing by combining internationally accepted principles with local customs. The everything else categories includes things such as taxes, as well as ensuring the proper funds for enshrined human rights, such as healthcare and education.

Why is a living income now so crucial?

A living income for farmers has always been a requirement, but it has become even more so in recent times. Good harvest seasons in 2016 and 2017 has led to an abundance is cocoa beans, which has led to a decrease in their price as the market has become saturated. With many of the forests of cocoa trees becoming protected, this trend is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. Cocoa farmers have never been truly rewarded for their work but in 2017 they only receive 4% of the cost of a chocolate bar and this unsustainable model has led to the use of child labour, forced and trafficked labour. Cocoa farmers are not bad parents, they are told not to use their children as labour but have also been told they will be paid 40% less for their cocoa beans in the last year. This is not a viable option for them and one of those two needs to change. We want it to be the income they receive, not the continued labour of their children.

What can we do?

The demand for cocoa beans has stalled, but the profit of chocolate companies continues to increase, therefore it does not seem unfeasible for companies to be working towards farmers being paid a living income. STOP THE TRAFFIK is asking anyone who feels the severity of this issue and how much of a difference it could make to millions of lives to consider doing the following.

  • Order a postcard and thank you cards from our website to be sent to the big chocolate companies applauding their current working but asking them to keep progressing in this issue,
  • Continue to find good chocolate with our recommended marks of certification (see our previous blog '7 signs of certification') and choose to buy those chocolate items over others.
  • STOP THE TRAFFIK is asking you to donate just $60 to offset your chocolate consumption for the year and help us to try make a living income for cocoa farmers the reality that it could and should be. Go to http://stopthetraffik.com.au/donate/