Nero & Bianco, 8 Century Point, Halifax Road, Cressex Business Park, High Wycombe, Bucks HP12 3SL

Fairtrade

What does Fairtrade mean and why is it important?
Fairtrade is about protecting some of the poorest farmers on earth from the volatility of world markets. The trading of Cocoa is especially virulent, with prices changing from £500 per tonne to £3,000 per tonne over a short number of years.

Cocoa growers are often from families where cocoa growing has been their livelihood for generations. Lack of funding, training and investment means that farmers can not simply switch to another crop when times are hard.

Fairtrade looks to protect cocoa farmers through difficult times by setting a minimum price. The Fairtrade minimum price* for cocoa is $1600 per tonne. On top of this a $150 per tonne social premium is made by the buyer.

The cooperative has a democratically elected committee who then decide how best to use this premium to benefit the community and the farmer organisation members (usually along the lines of investment in business, social or environmental projects).

When the world market price is higher than the Fairtrade minimum, to ensure the farmers benefit from this, the world market price is paid to them and on top of this the $150 per tonne payment is also made to enable work on social projects to continue.

*The Fairtrade minimum price is an export price paid to the farming organisation and includes cost of delivery to the port and loading the ship (known as FOB or Free on Board).

How Fairtrade makes a difference
Fairtrade prices protect small holder farmers through difficult times. When world market prices for cocoa are low, Fairtrade offers a stable price that covers the price of production and the social premium allows investment to be made for the benefit of the community.

Fairtrade also means that the cocoa is pre-financed. Micro-credits are offered to the cooperatives and often agronomists are employed to offer technical support to the farmers. We work with the farmers to help them improve their cocoa quality, for example we have worked together to install collection centres to ensure the beans are fresh and have helped with the purchase of equipment to improve the processing of cocoa beans. We work hard to develop long term relationships with the cooperatives from whom we buy cocoa beans.

In CONOCADO in the Dominican Republic, the organisation has focussed on training cocoa growers in producing excellent quality cocoa and skills in optimising their harvests. This means that the farmers are able to charge a higher price for their cocoa. Also, the organisation voted for second payments for farmers, so everyone can share in the profit of the organisation. All of these factors help farmers to improve their household income and most importantly, enables farming cocoa to be a viable financial option, rather than families heading off to overcrowded cities to find work.

The importance of organic
Organic farming is planet friendly- and ensures the food you eat is nutrient rich.

Organic benefits for the community
Cocoa communities benefit from farming organically as their land is not being damaged by the use of harmful chemicals. Organic farming maintains age old agricultural skill levels in crop rotation and natural fertilizers – skills that have been passed down from generation. It also means children, animals and the environment are not exposed to dangerous chemicals.

Organic is so important both for the land and the communities where cocoa is grown as it creates a sustainable eco-system: in order to grow the cocoa beans in an organic way, farmers must grow other trees to provide shade, trees that can be used to generate further income for the farmers such as banana trees.