18.03.2023 Feature Article

"Fairtrade" chocolate: colonization of the sweet taste 

Fairtrade chocolate: colonization of the sweet taste
18.03.2023 LISTEN

European shops are filled with chocolate eggs, easter bunnies nice and sweet. The "Fair trade" logo shines on ever more of these products to give consumers peace of mind ignoring or unaware of the consequences to buy such and other chocolate products.

Germans eat annually 11 kg, Belgians 6-8 kg, Chinese 100 gr, and Ghanaians 500 gr of chocolate products. Profit is not generated from cocoa plantations but from trading and manufacturing of raw cocoa beans a business chain still in the hands of the white man. Nestle, Mars, Cargill, Cadbury and Lindt, and Spruengli were raised to fame and fortune during the colonial era. Cadbury during the 1934-36 cocoa boycott tried to form a cartel against cocoa-producing countries but failed. The Big Six in the industry ensured that overwhelmingly only raw cocoa beans will be exported to their factories abroad. Unlike finished products (Cargill produces semi-finished big-block chocolate) raw cocoa beans are subject to speculation by people only with an interest in profit-making, not the overall picture.

Ghana has 800.000 (30% world market share ) while Ivory Coast has 1, 2 Mio. (40% world market share) cocoa farmers. Asking each of them what a fair price is 1, 6 Mio. respectively 2, 4 Mio. different answers will come as each farmer has a wife. Without scientific evidence, the "Fairtrade" organization and buying companies will determine the final price for buying, a market price (by systematic of the issue not fair nor unfair as these are not categories that apply to a market situation) which could potentially be higher if consumers through intelligent and sophisticated arguments and strategies could be convinced to pay even higher prices. This process is in hands of the white man of colonial times.

The small extra profit - compared to "conventional" chocolate for farmers fast vanishes into the white man's fantasy to be "fair". The higher price for "Fairtrade" Chocolate reflects in e.g. Shoprite at Nungua Barrier in Accra, Ghana, and increases the price for Ritter Sport, Halloren Kugeln, Cadbury, Nestle, or Lindt&Spruengli products for the farmer to use his tiny extra profit to purchase the more expensive chocolate he supplied the raw beans for. The European consumer instead has no problem paying for the increased prices.

Cocoa beans are food items. Food is of the highest quality when fresh at the source of production and goes down in quality by time and processing at each step of the supply chain until eaten by consumers. Mistakes made at farms and 3-4 months of the transportation chain see many cocoa beans arriving in Hamburg Port dead and gone, and survivors' quality diminished.

Place a bowl of fresh fruits on your living room table. See one fruit gets soiled and rotten. Hands up: who seriously believes the surrounding fruits stay unaffected and their quality remains high while still fit for consumption? Why believe that one dead cocoa bean on the route from Tema to Hamburg will not have affected the quality of 20 beans around in the 64kg sack of transport?

To finally give consumers around the world the chance to enjoy the best possible chocolate and make it possible for all to equally enjoy this godly delight the production has to move to countries of origin. Lower production prices, no customs duties on two sides, and no transportation cost paid 2 fold lower the prices for the finished product on all sides.

Jobs in the former colonial countries will get lost while created in e.g. Africa or South America. Lost jobs mean lost taxes for the nations. The shortage of qualified laborers in Europe can be compensated by former chocolate workers to move on in life and take up great opportunities in other sectors of their national economy. At the same time, fewer economic migrants become a political and financial burden to ex-colonial masters, a real "fair" win-win situation for all. In the end a sustainable strategy for the Big Six in this industry.

Who can trigger this transformation only and effectively: Ghana and its colleagues.