Kit Kat gives cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire a break
The Fairtrade Foundation hails today’s (Monday, 7 December) announcement that Kit Kat is going Fairtrade as a breakthrough for cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), as well as for Kit Kat lovers in the UK and Ireland.
The move by Nestlé, which will kick off in mid-January 2010 when the first certified Kit Kat four-finger bars arrive on shop shelves, is benefitting thousands of farmers in Côte d’Ivoire. As well as the Fairtrade price (or market price if higher) for the cocoa, farmers’ organisations receive additional Fairtrade premium payments to invest in long-term community and business development projects of their own choice, such as education and healthcare, the environment or their businesses.
Amongst the first farmers to benefit will be members of cocoa co-operative, Kavokiva, which was established in 1999 and Fairtrade certified in 2004, and now numbers 6,000 farmer members. Until now, Kavokiva farmers have sold very little on Fairtrade terms. The move will not only enable them to increase Fairtrade cocoa sales but will also impact other Fairtrade certified co-operatives and farmers’ groups looking to enter the Fairtrade market.
Harriet Lamb, Executive Director of the Fairtrade Foundation, has welcomed the move by the York-based Kit Kat brand, saying ”Cocoa farmers in Côte d’Ivoire struggle under the relentless pressures of poverty with shockingly high levels of illiteracy and poor access to healthcare. The significant volumes of cocoa that go into making Kit Kat will open whole new possibilities for these farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, giving them a more sustainable livelihood and the chance to plan for a better future.”
Côte d’Ivoire is one of the poorest countries in the world, with the poverty level rising from 38% in 2002 to 49% in 2008 as a result of the conflict in recent years, according to the World Bank. The country produces 40% of the world’s cocoa and one in four people directly or indirectly depend on cocoa farming.
Fulgence Nguessan, President of Kavokiva says the partnership will give income security to the farmers. “The long term commitment of Nestlé to purchase Fairtrade certified cocoa from Kavokiva is a unique opportunity for the cooperative and its members. Having its cocoa sold at a fair price directly to Nestlé is a source of motivation to all members and reinforces the cooperative's cohesion. It will allow the cooperative to continue to help its members to produce good quality cocoa and increase the yields they produce. The Fairtrade premium will be used to improve the life conditions of our members. We are committed to use a significant part of this premium to ensure that all children from our members can attend school and also to improve the services of the health centre of the cooperative.”
The Fairtrade Foundation, which this year is celebrating 15 years since the first products reached UK shop shelves, has been working to bring more companies into Fairtrade so that more farmers can benefit. Harriet continues: ”The public will be cheering this groundbreaking move taking Fairtrade further into the mainstream. This is a huge step towards tipping the balance of trade in favour of disadvantaged cocoa producers.”
Research shows that the majority of people in the UK back a better deal for farmers and workers around the world and believe companies should support community development when dealing with developing countries1. Consumers say one of the main barriers to purchasing Fairtrade products is availability and also that they would like their favourite brands to be Fairtrade. Kit Kat is the UK’s best-selling chocolate biscuit bar.
Rt Hon Gareth Thomas MP, the UK government’s Trade and Development Minister, says: "I am glad to see Kit Kat become Fairtrade certified, giving more British shoppers the chance to improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people. This will give thousands of Ivorian cocoa farmers better opportunities to trade their way out of poverty."
Under Fairtrade terms, farmers receive the guaranteed minimum price or world market price (whichever is higher) plus the Fairtrade premium of US$150 per tonne which is used for business or social development projects. Although the world commodity market price for cocoa is currently high, small-holder farmers are often forced because of poverty to make a quick sale to brokers at a lower price, therefore not directly benefitting from the higher commodity prices. With Fairtrade, the direct relationships mean that farmers’ co-operatives secure a better deal with a fair price as well as the Fairtrade premium.
There are currently seven Fairtrade certified cocoa co-operatives in Côte d’Ivoire and many eager to gain certification. In 2010, at least 4,300 tonnes of cocoa for Kit Kat will come from Côte d’Ivoire Fairtrade certified cooperatives, including Kavokiva.
The sugar in the product will also be Fairtrade certified, sourced from Belize, providing additional premiums of $60 per tonne for the farmers to invest in improving their communities and farming practices.
To arrange an interview or for more information please contact Eileen Maybin at the Fairtrade Foundation press office on 020 7440 7686/07770 957 451 or Faith Mall on 020 7440 8597/07766 504 947.
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Notes to Editors
1. In a survey by GlobeScan, commissioned earlier this year by Fairtrade Labelling Organizations International (FLO), of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member, with a sample size of 14,500 in 15 countries, 77% of people in the UK said it was ‘important’ or ‘very important’ to them that companies contribute to community development.
2. The FAIRTRADE Mark is a certification mark and a registered trademark of Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) of which the Fairtrade Foundation is the UK member. The Fairtrade Foundation is an independent certification body which licenses the use of the FAIRTRADE Mark on products which meet international Fairtrade standards. This independent consumer label appears on products as a guarantee that disadvantaged producers are getting a better deal. Today, more than 7 million people - farmers, workers and their families - across 59 developing countries benefit from the international Fairtrade system.
3. Kit Kat is Nestlé Confectionery’s flagship brand. Nestlé is already a licensee of the Fairtrade Foundation, launching Nescafé Partners’ Blend coffee in 2005.
4. TNS Awareness figures September 2009 shows that as the average purchase of Fairtrade products grew over the last 12 months by 5.5% from £18.19 to £19.17 per household.
5. The UK Government is providing £12 million over the next four years (April 2010/11 to 2013/14) in funding to Fairtrade and its international partners in the Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) in order to scale up its work supporting farmers in developing countries to access better terms of trade in global markets.
6. Today over 4,500 retail and catering products have been licensed to carry the FAIRTRADE Mark including coffee, tea, herbal teas, chocolate, cocoa, sugar, bananas, grapes, pineapples, mangoes, avocados, apples, pears, plums, grapefruit, lemons, oranges, satsumas, clementines, mandarins, lychees, coconuts, dried fruit, juices, smoothies, biscuits, cakes & snacks, honey, jams & preserves, chutney & sauces, rice, quinoa, herbs & spices, seeds, nuts & nut oil, wines, beers, rum, confectionary, muesli, cereal bars, yoghurt, ice-cream, flowers, sports balls, sugar body scrub and cotton products including clothing, homeware, cloth toys, cotton wool and olive oil.
Have your say and read early reactions to this announcement
A case study on the Kavokiva Cocoa Co-Operative, Cote D'Ivoire
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