New PM Boris Johnson urged to support decent income for cocoa farmers

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Fairtrade cocoa farmers. Pic: Fairtrade International
Fairtrade cocoa farmers. Pic: Fairtrade International

Related tags Fair trade Cocoa Côte d'ivoire

Fairtrade petition signed by more than 50,000 calls for living incomes for cocoa farmers in West Africa.

More than 50,000 people have signed a Fairtrade petition calling for Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, to make living incomes a priority for UK-funded aid projects.

Fairtrade campaigners joined Fairtrade Foundation’s Julia Nicoara to hand in the petition on Côte d'Ivoire’s Independence Day (August 7) to Number 10 Downing Street.

Côte d'Ivoire is the world’s largest cocoa producer. A typical Ivorian cocoa farmer often lives in extreme poverty and earns on average just 75p (91c) a day, less than half she needs for a decent standard of living. Yet for around £1.86 ($2.26) per day, the average price of a large bar of chocolate, farmers could live a decent life, Fairtrade claimed.

The Fairtrade Foundation will also shared a video message from Awa Traore, an Ivorian cocoa farmer, to thank supporters and tell the PM why this is so important.

Living incomes

According to a recent report by Fairtrade, unfair cocoa prices are leaving many families struggling to afford the basics such as education for their children, medical treatment when they are ill and even access to safe water. Living incomes are key to ensure the future sustainability of cocoa, it said.

Adam Gardner, head of campaigns at the Fairtrade Foundation, said: “Fairtrade believes a critical factor to eliminate extreme poverty is to pay farmers a fair price for their cocoa, but we can’t do it by ourselves. The government should support a global initiative of governments and business to enable living incomes in supply chains, starting with cocoa​.”

Fairtrade conducted a study of 3,000 Ivorian Fairtrade cocoa farming households, which identified 58% were living in extreme poverty. It announced last autumn it would lead the way on living incomes by increasing the Minimum Price and Premium that farmers receive for their cocoa by 20% in October 2019.

With only 6% of cocoa globally Fairtrade-certified the movement calls for collective action from the government, industry and consumers.

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