It’s hard not to love a good piece of chocolate. Whether you’re a true chocoholic or just like a little treat once in a while, you now have another reason to indulge your sweet tooth: helping to support change and a better life for people in Ghana, Africa.
How can eating chocolate help people more than 8,200 km away? Fair-trade cocoa farmer James Mensah from the Kuapa Kokoo Cooperative in Ghana, who produces cocoa for Cadbury, explains that by purchasing chocolate bearing the fair trade logo, you’re supporting a better life for the people in his community‘including farmers and their families.
"Fair trade has helped families in Ghana a lot," says Mensah, who began his work as a cocoa farmer in 1997 and has been a fair-trade farmer for the last nine. “Fair trade pays an extra amount on top of the government price, and this helps producers invest in our communities. I want people in Canada to know that their work here is making a difference in our lives.”
When you see chocolate products that have been certified by TransFair Canada‘such as Cadbury’s Dairy Milk line, Cocoa Camino and Green & Black’s Maya Gold range’it means that the product meets strict, international fair-trade standards. Organizations such as TransFair also seek to ensure that farmers such as James Mensah aren’t exploited for their work and receive a better deal for the goods that they provide. Mensah says that being involved with fair trade farming has improved his life by allowing him to build a house, buy a truck to transport his cocoa and provide more opportunities for his family. "I am proud to be a cocoa farmer," he says.
In addition to the changes in his own life, Mensah says that fair trade has also had a positive impact on his community. Where people used to fetch bacteria-ridden water from a stream, they now have access to clean water from a well and mobile health clinics. Children enjoy better-quality education and now have bicycles to make their long journey to school a little easier.
So when your 4 p.m. sugar craving kicks in, go ahead and indulge. Knowing that you’re contributing to a better life for others is sure to make your treat that much sweeter.
Will the fair trade logo make you more likely to buy a certain type of chocolate? Is supporting fair trade important to you?