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A blog of the Trade for Development Centre
Updated: 55 min 35 sec ago

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." 

Ethical smartphone company Fairphone raises €20 million

25 January, 2019 - 16:24

"Dutch ethical smartphone manufacturer Fairphone has raised a total of €20 million in funding and debt over the past few months. (...) Founded in 2013 in Amsterdam, Fairphone is a social enterprise that’s paving the road for “ethical electronics.” The company is working on putting the ethics first across the supply chain, from mining to manufacturing to the device’s life cycle."

Read further the article on

Read the blog post by the new appointed CEO Eva Gouwens

'Envoyé spécial" documentary on cocoa: Children trapped

25 January, 2019 - 11:29

A documentary on child labour in Côte d’Ivoire deserves being watched (in French). It was first broadcast on 10 January 2019 for the French television’s ‘Envoyé spécial’ programme. Côte d’Ivoire, globally the biggest producer of cocoa “has really endeavoured to stop a scourge which is a perceived disgrace to the country. Schools have been built; cocoa-growers have been trained. On TV people are frequently reminded that child labour is prohibited. Unfortunately, children are still exploited’.
In the very west of the country, at eight hours of the country’s capital, near the border with Liberia, in remote forests Paul Moreira, a journalist, came across children, some of which had been working for five years... for free on illegal plantations, before they were given a small plot of land to earn just… 200 euros per year. 
The children came from Burkina Faso to the Guiglo area. They were sold by their parents for approximately 200 000 FCFA (300 euros) to work in cocoa plantations. Approximately, because, as one dealer unveils in the documentary: “Like sheep on the market, they may be more or less expensive.”

Children, some of which are still very young, head for the plantations with chemicals sprayers on their backs. They wear no protective gear — which they would not be able to pay for — while they spray loads of glyphosate to kill the weeds on the plots before the remaining trees are burned down and cacao trees are planted.  
In just one week in Côte d’Ivoire’s south-western forests, Paul Moreira “discovered all crimes which the industry undertook to stop: slavery, child labour and the destruction of nature”. Meanwhile, bags of cocoa enter the mainstream cocoa trade circuit. These bags cannot be traced because they are not labelled and in this particular case are delivered to Cargill, which resells the cocoa to big chocolate brands.
Elsewhere in Côte d’Ivoire children skip school too. Cocoa growers often lack the means to send their children to school. According to a study by the French development agency (AfD) and Barry Callebaut[1] cocoa growers earn an average 0.86 euro per day. The documentary points out that cocoa growers earned three times that much in the 1980s and raises the question: “Why not a simple cocoa price hike to stop children from working in the fields?“ 
The investigation documentary by Paul Moreira and Pedro Brito Da Fonseca is available (in French) on:
Meanwhile, most producers earn a pittance whereas big corporations continue to make huge profits. Two examples among others: Cargill reported 9 % net earnings increase year-over-year in 2018. According to the annual report of the company "the increasing earnings in food ingredients and applications in particular was lifted by outstanding performance in cocoa and chocolate"[2]. Barry Callebaut announced a 31 % rise in net profit for the same period[3].

[1] Gaëlle Balineau (AFD), Safia Bernath (Barry Callebaut), Vaihei Pahuatini, Cocoa farmers’ agricultural practices and livelihoods in Côte d’Ivoire, Insights from cocoa farmers and community baseline surveys conducted by Barry Callebaut between 2013 and 2015, Technical notes, AfD.[2][3]

TDC supports cocoa producers in Vietnam

24 December, 2018 - 16:12

TDC worked together with NAPP (Network of Asia and Pacific Producers) and VCA (Vietnam Cooperatives Alliance) to support cocoa producers in the Vietnamese highlands. The project ‘sustainable development of cocoa production starting from cooperative model’ trained 450 farmer families in fair trade practices. The project aimed to create one new cooperative and reinforce two existing ones. Today the farmers produce 500 tons of fair trade certified cocoa beans of a better quality that they can sell at a better price.