Paying more for Fairtrade cocoa is key to ending child labour

30th September 2010 The Times

To eat chocolate is to enter a moral maze. It has been associated with indulgence and sex and more recently, justice

To eat chocolate is to enter a moral maze. It has always been associated with indulgence and sex — if you believe the advertising — and the newest selling point is justice: “fairly traded” chocolate that promises a decent livelihood for the cocoa farmers. In the past year this has become mainstream: Cadbury (with Dairy Milk) and Nestlé (with KitKat) have gone into Fairtrade, and some Mars products carry the less-exacting Rainforest Alliance label. You can have chocolate both sinful and worthy simultaneously: “Indulge your sweet tooth with this decadent collection of Fairtrade Belgian chocolates . . .” runs an ad on the Oxfam shop website.

Can you taste that goodness? At a party I handed round two plates of chocolate squares. They looked identical but I said one had Fairtrade chocolate on it, the other was conventional: I wanted to know which tasted better. My subjects voted in favour of the Fairtrade chocolate, and with a political bias: the more liberal-minded, the more they preferred the Fairtrade. I’d conned them, of course: the two chocolates were the same, which made everyone cross.

Read the rest via Times Online

Chocolate gives Sierra Leone’s villages new hope

19th September 2010, The Observer

Civil war and poverty have ravaged Sierra Leone, but now the fair trade movement is helping to rebuild the lives and dreams of the country’s cocoa farmers

Wata Nabieu takes the chocolate bar and carefully unwraps the top. She giggles at us watching her and breaks off a piece, giving it a nervous nibble. Then she passes it to her three-year-old daughter, Yema. Wata pulls the gold wrapper back more and bites. She closes her eyes. “Milk… sugar… cocoa?” she murmurs. Her smile widens. She takes a bigger bite.

It’s a privilege to watch someone eat chocolate for the first time: a Willy Wonka moment. All the more special because 40-year-old Wata Nabieu has laboured for most of her life in the cocoa plantations of Sierra Leone so that other people can eat chocolate. What if she didn’t like it?

Read on here via the Guardian website