Women cocoa farmers deserve fair treatment

Photo: Irene Scott/AusAID

Cocoa, women and living income are the focus of Fairtrade Fortnight this year. It is a campaign that encourages everyone across the UK to play their parts in making a fair living income for cocoa growers, especially, women farmers.

According to Fairtrade, “By requiring companies to pay sustainable prices (which must never fall lower than the market price), it addresses the injustices of conventional trade, which traditionally discriminates against the poorest, weakest producers. It enables them to improve their position and have more control over their lives.”

Emily McCoy, the Press Officer of Fairtrade Foundation says that they launch the Fairtrade Fortnight campaign annually, and it lasts for two weeks, which will end this Sunday.

She adds that, this year is the third year that has made success and “She Deserves” is a specific theme for different kinds of events.

The statistics provided by the Fairtrade show that “a cocoa farmer in West Africa needs £1.86 per day to achieve a living income, but currently, a typical cocoa farmer in Cote d’Ivoire lives on around 74 pence a day. Almost all cocoa farmers in West Africa live in poverty.”

For women, the situation is even worse. Janet Symmons, a shop owner in Cardiff. She was brought up in a cocoa farm in Ghana. She says that Ghana is a male-dominant place, like West Africa, all of it, they are male-dominated culture. Women are submissive to their husband. They generally have less power than men.

The shop owned by Janet Symmons. Photo: CNP

“Since cocoa is a seasonal plant, which generally grows from October to the end of the year, “she adds, “if farmers spent all their money, they have to wait another harvest of cocoa to get the money.”

Fairtrade Cardiff says that “Cardiff is the first capital Fairtrade city in the world. It wants to raise awareness of fair trade and increase the purchases of Fairtrade and fairly traded products throughout Cardiff.”

This year, Fairtrade Cardiff says it will team up with the cafe Penylan Pantry to hold a Fairtrade Fortnight event this Friday, the international women’s day, to celebrate Fairtrade and the women behind the produce.

Penylan Pantry as the place where holds this event says they will create a menu showcasing some of the amazing women farmers and the ingredients they grow.

However, Janet Symmons claims that this event doesn’t mean to celebrate for women farmers, since those women farmers are living in a rural area, they cannot reach here.

She says, “Some of them even don’t know what chocolate is, like my aunt who is a cocoa farmer in Ghana.” So, for her, she thinks the event seems like showcasing the Fairtrade.

As Janet says, Is it a celebration for Fairtrade or for women cocoa farmers? People can go to the event and find out more.

Chocolate in the supermarket. Photo: CNP

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