Easter has arrived: the time of year for guilt-free chocolate, and with that the perfect excuse to indulge in some Fairtrade eggs.
Everyone loves a special chocolate treat at Easter and showing your support by getting a Fairtrade egg can make a difference to the lives of cocoa and sugar farmers and their families. Because while Easter is seen as a time to indulge for us in the UK, those who produce the cocoa for our eggs struggle to earn a decent living from their hard work.
In West Africa and the Caribbean – two of the biggest cocoa-producing regions in the world - millions of farmers have to survive on less than $2 a day. Many cocoa farming communities lack access to adequate education, healthcare, and clean water and extreme poverty forces families to send children to work rather than school, leading to low school attendance and high rates of illiteracy. Much of the world price of cocoa beans is absorbed by traders, processors and government taxes before farmers receive their cut, and as farm costs, fuel, food and household expenses have continued to rise for farmers, they have seen the value of their crop fall almost every year since the late 1970s. Cocoa farmers typically receive six per cent of the final price of chocolate paid by consumers, down from 16 per cent 20 years ago.
Fairtrade aims to support the development of a sustainable cocoa sector where farmers are able to build better livelihoods for themselves, their families and communities through a reliable and sustainable cocoa supply and mutually beneficial long-term trading relationships. Purchasing Fairtrade Easter eggs gives consumers a powerful and credible way of addressing these concerns and reducing poverty through their everyday shopping.
In Ghana, extra income from the Fairtrade Premium has helped build hundreds of water boreholes, two day-care centres, public toilets and a mobile health programme. In Côte D’Ivoire an agronomist has been hired to improve farming techniques and boost yields, a health centre has been built, an ambulance purchased and a free health insurance scheme with affordable medicines set up.
Isidoro de la Rosa, of CONACADO cocoa co-operative in the Dominican Republic said: ‘With Fairtrade income we were able to implement a fermentation program to improve the quality of our cocoa and to convert our production to certified organic. This improved our position in the export market. The Fairtrade market is a very important market for the survival of our members’.
You can make your money go further this Easter by looking out for Easter eggs bearing the FAIRTRADE Mark.
Whether it’s Divine’s luxury Fairtrade chocolate eggs, a handmade Marbled Fairtrade Chocolate Rabbit from Cocoaloco or a Fairtrade Easter Tasting Collection gift set from Green & Black’s, there are plenty of Fairtrade eggs to take your pick from. You can celebrate the real meaning of Easter with a Fairtrade egg from the Meaningful Chocolate Company, available from Waitrose or The Cooperative, while Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Fairtrade chocolate eggs and M&S’ Stack of Chocolate bars, for something a bit different, are also available.