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A blog of the Trade for Development Centre
Updated: 54 min 29 sec ago

Illegal cocoa in Swiss chocolate

10 March, 2019 - 10:14
From: RTS
In Côte d’Ivoire, the Maraouhé park is one of the last remaining wild forests in the country,  a sanctuary for  the last 200 to 400 elephants in the country.
This forest is however threatened by cocoa. Illegal growers cut old trees and replace them with cocoa trees, as the RTS (French-speaking Swiss television company) was able to verify on the spot. Once in the warehouses of local cooperatives, the beans are mixed with cocoa from other plantations. Traceability is lost. These bags with mixed cocoa are resold as UTZ cocoa and end up in a regional headquarters of Cargill.  Local Cargill employees explained to the RTS that the cocoa is resold to Nestlé and exported to Europe.

Read François Ruchti's article and watch the RTS report.

Living income for cocoa producers in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire

28 February, 2019 - 08:57
One of the objectives of the Belgian "Beyond Chocolate" partnership is to achieve a "living income" for cocoa producers by 2030. Here are the latest studies on living income for cocoa producers in Ivory Coast and Ghana.
Around the world, it's the methodology first developed for the ILO by Richard and Martha Anker (Anker methodology) that is used to calculate a living wage. 
In July 2018, the Living Income Community of Practice, co-hosted by GIZ, ISEAL and the Sustainable Food Lab and the GIZ Programme “Sustainable Supply Chains and Standards” produced “Considerations for the use of the Anker methodology for calculating living wages to inform living income estimates.”
The Living Income Community of Practice calculates ‘Living Income’ Benchmarks for the cocoa producing regions in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. The Living Income Benchmark studies estimate the net income required for a decent standard of living for a typical family in these regions.
GhanaThe study “Analysis of the income gap of cocoa producing households in Ghana” (KIT) estimates a Living Income Benchmark in rural cocoa growing areas of Ghana to be GHS 21,100 (USD 4,742) per year for a typical male-headed household (up to 4 ha of productive land) of 3.5 adults and 2.5 children. Female-headed households of 3 adults and 2 children have a Benchmark of GHS 17,806 (USD 4,001) per year. Male-headed households with large land size (more than 4 ha of productive land) composed of 3.5 adults and 3 children have a Benchmark of GHS 22,799 (USD 5,123) per year.

The study “Living Income Report Rural Ghana” (University of Ghana) estimates a Living Income in rural cocoa growing areas of Ghana (Ashanti, Central, Eastern, and Western Regions) to be GHS 1,464 ($329) per month for a typical family of two adults and three children.

Côte d’IvoireThe study “Analysis of the income gap of cocoa producing households in Côte d’Ivoire” (KIT) estimates a Living Income Benchmark in rural cocoa growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire to be CFA 3,759,281 (USD 6,517) per year for a typical male-headed household (up to 4 ha of productive land) of 3.5 adults and 3.5 children.
The study “Living Income Report Rural Côte d’Ivoire” (CIRES) estimate a Living Income in rural cocoa growing regions of Côte d’Ivoire (Gôh, Loh Djiboua, Nawa, Mé, Agnéby, Tonkpi, Indénié-Djuablin, Sud-Comoé and San-Pedro) to be CFA 262,056 ($454) per month for a typical family of two adults and four children.
Earlier, in April 2018, True Price and Fairtrade published a study that estimates a living income for a typical 8-member household in Côte d’Ivoire to be USD 7,318 per year.
Having defined living incomes, strategies to close the income gap for smallholder farmers (Côte d’Ivoire and Indonesia) are needed. This piece of research has been conducted by AidEnvironment on behalf of the Living Income Community of Practice.
The Living Income Community of Practice recently held a two day event in Bonn on the 30th and 31st of January 2019 to support learning, action and collaboration around the topic of Living Income. To access all of the presentations and resources from the event visit:

Broken links between EU competition law and sustainability in food systems

22 February, 2019 - 20:08
The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) has launched a report shedding light on the changing nature of competition law and showing where it is currently obstructing sustainability in food systems. The authors give recommendations how to mend the broken links between EU competition law and sustainability to support overreaching policy goals such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) or climate commitments.
The question of whether and to what extent EU competition law can be a tool for sustainability had already been controversially discussed well before the Bayer-Monsanto merger. But this debate is about to be accelerate amidst Germany’s recent announcement to seeking revision of European competition law in their 2020 presidency following the prohibition of the merger between Siemens and Alstom. FTAO welcomes that the recent European Parliament Resolution of 31 January 2019 on the Annual Report on Competition Policy by the European Commission already made strong references to sustainability.
EU competition law’s current main focus on lower prices, more innovation and a wider availability of products for consumers puts not only burdens on the creation of European industry champions but also, more importantly, on sustainability. The narrow lens of consumer welfare hinders the ability to see the ways in which the production of cheap and available products may affect the environment andthe social foundations of our society.
FTAO commissioned the report “EU Competition Law and Sustainability in Food Systems: Addressing the Broken Links” to investigate the broken links between competition law and sustainability. The authors of the report, Dr Tomaso Ferrando (University of Bristol Law School) and Dr Claudio Lombardi (KIMEP University), make a strong case that EU competition law cannot be viewed in isolation but needs to be applied in conjunction with other EU laws, principles, and objectives.
For EU competition law to support -or at least not obstruct- the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the social and environmental commitments in the EU Treaties, the report suggests interpretative, institutional and regulatory changes to the current EU competition framework. For example, EU competition law should not prevent a sector commitment to paying a living wage to farmers in the global south who are selling agricultural products into the EU market.
The full report and a briefing note can be found here

Global organic area reaches another all-time high

13 February, 2019 - 16:10
Nearly 70 million hectares of farmland are organic
The year 2017 was another record year for global organic agriculture. According to the latest FiBL survey on organic agriculture worldwide, the organic farmland increased substantially, and the number of organic producers and organic retail sales also continued to grow, reaching another all-time high, as shown by the data from 181 countries (data as of the end 2017). 
The 20th edition of the study “The World of Organic Agriculture” published by FiBL and IFOAM – Organics International shows a continuation of the positive trend seen in the past years. 
The global organic market continues to grow worldwide and has reached 97 billion US dollars The market research company Ecovia Intelligence estimates that the global market for organic food reached 97 billion US dollars in 2017 (approx. 90 billion euros). 
The United States is the leading market with 40 billion euros, followed by Germany (10 billion euros), France (7.9 billion euros), and China (7.6 billion euros). In 2017, many major markets continued to show double-digit growth rates, and the French organic market grew by 18 percent. The Swiss spent the most on organic food (288 Euros per capita in 2017). Denmark had the highest organic market share (13.3 percent of the total food market). 
Almost three million producers worldwide In 2017, 2.9 million organic producers were reported, which is 5 percent more than in 2016. India continues to be the country with the highest number of producers (835’200), followed by Uganda (210’352), and Mexico (210’000). 
Record growth of the organic farmland: 20 percent increase A total of 69.8 million hectares were organically managed at the end of 2017, representing a growth of 20 percent or 11.7 million hectares over 2016, the largest growth ever recorded. Australia has the largest organic agricultural area (35.6 million hectares), followed by Argentina (3.4 million hectares), and China (3 million hectares). Due to the large area increase in Australia, half of the global organic agricultural land is now in Oceania (35.9 million hectares). Europe has the second largest area (21 percent; 14.6 million hectares), followed by Latin America (11.5 percent; 8 million hectares). The organic area increased in all continents. 
Ten percent or more of the farmland is organic in fourteen countries Globally, 1.4 percent of the farmland is organic. However, many countries have far higher shares. The countries with the largest organic share of their total farmland are Liechtenstein (37.9 percent), Samoa (37.6 percent), and Austria (24 percent). In fourteen countries, 10 percent or more of all agricultural land is organic.
“The World of Organic Agriculture” as well as graphs and infographics can be downloaded at

More and more Belgian chocolatiers going from bean to bar

2 February, 2019 - 11:50
The production process that turns the cocoa bean into a chocolate bar requires many intermediary steps and involves multinational corporations. 
More and more chocolatiers all over the world now want to take the whole process in their own hands. Their raw material of choice is not liquid factory-supplied ‘couverture chocolate’ delivered in large cisterns, but cocoa beans which they personally select in the South. This growing group of artisanal chocolatiers – known as the bean-to-bar movement – resolutely targets quality rather than mass production and looks for top-range beans with exquisite flavours. 
Their work mostly results in a good relationship with cocoa growers and fair pay for the growers’ tough labour.
A new publication of the Trade for Development Centre

Germany’s call for cocoa regulation tightens pressure on the European Commission

28 January, 2019 - 15:55

The German government has called for European “binding regulations” to set a standard for sustainably-produced cocoa.  The call was made as part of a national 10-point Action Plan for cocoa, launched on 23 January by German Agriculture Minister Julia Kloeckner and Development Minister Gerd Mueller. The 10-point Action Plan sets out how the German government plans to address rampant deforestation and child labour in the cocoa sector.  The Action Plan also proposes to train farmers in sustainable cocoa production and strengthen the role of women in the cocoa sector.
The call echoes similar statements from the French and Belgian governments at the end of 2018, where both called for the “rapid adoption” of an EU due diligence regulation to tackle child labour and deforestation in the cocoa sector. Chocolate companies have expressed similar views, concluding at the April 2018 World Cocoa Conference in Berlin that their voluntary commitments to end child labour and deforestation had “not led to sufficient impact”, and that there was a need to look at “potential regulatory measures by governments.”  At a European Commission event in Brussels on 24 January 2019, Mondelez (the world’s second-largest chocolate company) expressed their “strong support” for “harmonized EU legislation to create a level playing field” in the cocoa sector.
Germany’s 10-point Action Plan comes just as the European Commission launches its open consultation (to close 25 February 2019) on “Stepping up EU Action on deforestation and forest degradation”, which sets out how the EU will address deforestation resulting from its consumption of cocoa, amongst other things. The EU is by quite a long way the world’s largest importer of cocoa, responsible for over 60% of global cocoa bean imports. 
Julia Christian, forests campaigner at the NGO Fern, said: “Europeans consume the majority of the world’s cocoa, so we are very much responsible for the nearly 2 million children working in the cocoa sector in West Africa, as well as the near-total destruction of forests in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana."