February 11, 2005

Fair Trade Chocolate The last installment--read Part Two--Melts in Your Mouth and Part One--Ode to Chocolate. Small family farms made up of 5 to 6 million small farmers generate more than 85 per cent of the world's cocoa crop. Most families own 1 to 5 acres where 1,000 cacao trees can produce fruit anywhere from 75 to 100 years. Unfortunately about 1/3 of the crop is lost to disease and pests. Economic and political conditions of cacao producing countries along the equator (West Africa, Central and South America) can be volatile. As a result training and equipment can be lacking. Cocaopro, a unit of Mars, Inc., states, "the issues facing cocoa--the chocolate industry needs a stable supply of raw ingredients; environmental groups seek to preserve the natural habitats that cocoa creates; donor organizations aim to raise rural incomes; cocoa farmers need a dependable source of income, and governments look to support domestic agricultures--most efforts by these groups prior to 1998 were limited in scope, and not coordinated in any strategic or cohesive way." Since 1998 interested groups have come together around a solution--sustainable agriculture. Mars. Inc. also got together with the Smithsonian to organize the First International Workshop on Sustainable Cocoa Growing. The event brought together ornithologists, plant scientists, environmental advocates and chocolate industry scientists to discuss cocoa cultivation system that is biologically, environmentally and socially beneficial. Chocolate lovers can ease the guilt factor by supporting small family farms in these countries by buying fair trade chocolate. Fair-trade products aim to eliminate the...


what happens to the hole when the donut is gone?

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