Losing a lifeline
For ten years, Nestlé has been one of the leading buyers of Fairtrade certified cocoa through its KitKat brand. Every year, this supports about 27,000 small-scale cocoa farmers and provides workers with around £2 million of ‘Fairtrade Premium’.
The Fairtrade Premium enables communities to lift themselves out of poverty. Over and above the Fairtrade price, the Fairtrade Premium is an additional sum of money which goes into a communal fund for workers and farmers to use to improve their quality of life. They decide together how to spend this money – for example, investing in their farming, businesses, or health and education in the community.
‘As Fairtrade producers, our voice is heard and taken into account. We are treated with the respect and dignity we deserve. Stopping the relationship with Fairtrade is to silence our voices,’ says Atse Ossey Francis, President Ivorian Fair Trade Administrative Committee. ‘This is a devastating blow for some of the world's poorest producers.’
Cocoa farmers struggle with low and uncertain incomes at the best of times. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, companies like Nestlé should be doing all they can to support the farmers they work with. Instead they are abandoning them. It’s likely that farmers like Patrick will be forced into selling their crops for an even lower price, pushing them further into poverty.
What can we do?
Despite Nestlé’s damaging decision, we can all do something to support cocoa farmers.
- Buy Fairtrade. If we enjoy chocolate, we can keep buying it – but at a fair price for all those involved in producing it. By committing to only purchasing Fairtrade certified products, we can give power back to farmers like Patrick.
- Sign the petition. We can also raise our voices on behalf of Patrick and other farmers. Please join us in signing the petition to urge Nestlé to reconsider their decision and keep KitKats Fairtrade.
- Thank God that Patrick and other cocoa farmers have been able to adapt their farming methods and increase their income. Pray that more cocoa farmers will benefit from training from Tearfund’s partners so that they can lift themselves out of poverty.
- Pray that chocolate manufacturers – such as Nestlé – will commit (and recommit) to paying cocoa farmers a fair price for their cocoa and labour through Fairtrade schemes.
- Cocoa farming has a history of using forced and child labour. Pray that Tearfund’s local partners will be able to prevent and stop this happening, and pray for an end to forced and child labour in all industries.