Fairtrade America urges consumers to think about the cost of confectionery

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Deborah Osei-Mensah from Ghana’s Asunafo North Farmers Union is featured in the Fairtrade America campaign. Pic: Fairtrade America
Deborah Osei-Mensah from Ghana’s Asunafo North Farmers Union is featured in the Fairtrade America campaign. Pic: Fairtrade America

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Fairtrade America has launched a new campaign that aims to ignite conversation about how little cocoa farmers earn for their crops while they also face pernicious inflation, impacts of Covid-19 and supply chain challenges.

The ‘It’s Only Fair’ campaign specifically asks US consumers would they work for a $1 a day, which is the wage some farmers make in West Africa, from where most of the country’s cocoa is imported.

Launched on World Chocolate Day, the campaign features three videos connecting shoppers in the US to smallholder cocoa farmers in West Africa and the dire issues farmers are facing around the world by disrupting people’s routines with the simple question, “How long would you work for $1?”

The organisation says that because of the unfair and unjust realities of the global food market, many cocoa farmers work an entire day for between $0.78-$1.00. That’s significantly below the international poverty line.

Farmers aren’t getting a fair deal. This is not only unjust, it is also unsustainable​,” says Peg Willingham, Executive Director of Fairtrade America. “Fairtrade believes that everyone deserves a decent standard of living. It’s only fair to pay a price that supports an existence worthy of human dignity​.”

Global issue

Through its new campaign, Fairtrade America says it hopes to turn this big global issue into a more relatable problem, inspiring viewers to pause, reflect, learn and share about the impact unfair trade has on farmers and workers around the world. 

Speaking in one of the videos, Deborah Osei-Mensah - Livelihood Development Officer of Ghana’s Asunafo North Farmers Union, leader of the union’s Monitoring and Evaluation Team and Fairtrade Youth Ambassador, says: “My cooperative produces cocoa and includes close to 10,000 cocoa farmers from 67 communities.

“I’m currently the Operations Manager in charge of child protection, gender and livelihood issues. Fairtrade has transformed me. While I used to be shy, I am now more confident both in my farming business and life. I’ve also seen first-hand the evolving business side of cocoa.

In my role with Asunafo, I am honoured to help train other women to diversify their incomes beyond cocoa, and I am working to achieve my Masters of Science in Environment, Water and Sustainability from the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Ghana to be able to help my community better mitigate the challenges of climate change.

My community and I ask for businesses to commit to supporting farmers in producing your cocoa and offer a fair deal; for consumers to be conscious about what they are consuming. Be fair, purchase fair and, with that, make the future fair - there’s just one world and we should be supporting each other within it.”

‘It’s Only Fair’ Video Series

The 15-second videos​ at the heart of the campaign feature three scenarios, a barber shop, a tanning salon and a kid’s birthday party to show how long workers in the US might work for just $1. No surprise - it’s not very long. Though the ads are humorous and meant to catch viewers’ attention quickly, the issues they tackle are complex and require all actors along the supply chain, including traders, governments, brands and consumers, to take action to ensure cocoa farmers are paid enough to have a decent living.

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1 comment

Shooting Themselves In the Foot

Posted by Craig Lesly,

The intelligent way to help growers would be to STIMULATE demand, not discourage it.

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