Call for Fairtrade to triple impact in Africa with ‘Fairmade’ certification

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

ABOCFA member Joseph Aperko rakes his cocoa beans to dry them evenly in the sun for MIA's Ghana Gold chocolate. Pic: MIA
ABOCFA member Joseph Aperko rakes his cocoa beans to dry them evenly in the sun for MIA's Ghana Gold chocolate. Pic: MIA

Related tags Fair trade Chocolate Cocoa Confectionery Sustainability

Ethical bean-to-bar maker MIA, short for Made in Africa, has called for the Fairtrade organisation to recognise a new ‘Fairmade’ certification.

According to MIA, the launch of its new Ghana Gold brand in 2022 made the company the world’s first to produce chocolate bars in two African countries, after establishing a chocolate manufacturing base in Madagascar.

“Chocolate has been made for decades, and Africa produces 70% of cocoa beans globally, so it is shocking that more value-added chocolate bars are not manufactured on the continent,” said Brett Beach, MIA co-founder.

Commenting on current industry certifications, Beach said at its origins, Fairtrade featured different crafts made in developing countries. Crafts are great because they support producer communities with more added value and skilled work.

“When it comes to chocolate confectionery, cocoa-producing countries are selling beans. As a result, they are not capturing the value they deserve to earn. In fact, cocoa-producing countries receive less than 7% of global chocolate confectionery revenues."

He said Fairtrade is positioned to uplift African communities beyond the farmgate.

“This can be done by creating a new certification to highlight companies that make value-added products in cocoa-producing countries. We like to call this model 'fairmade' as it goes beyond the benefits of Fairtrade ingredients with value-added production that triples the revenue people in supplier nations earn.”

In its recently issued 2022 impact report, MIA claims that making chocolate in Africa results in three times more value for African communities when compared to the export of cocoa. The report also highlights that the brand’s farmgate cocoa payments are equivalent to 1.9 times the Fairtrade premium

“If Fairtrade is able to develop a certification for single ingredients, essentially accepting that their logo appear on products that do not contain 100% Fairtrade ingredients, why can the organisation not develop a certification to recognise companies that go in the other direction to add more value by making finished products at the source of the main ingredient?” MIA asks.

The company cites Fairtrade’s Sourced Ingredient Mark programme​ – used for single Fairtrade ingredients in products that otherwise contain conventional ingredients – as an example of adapting to newer sustainability models.

  •  Fairtrade declined to comment before publication of this article. 

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