The Bitter Truth About Cocoa Essay

2295 words - 10 pages

Imagine that you are at your local retail store and you want to buy yourself a chocolate bar. There are so many brand names to choose from and it’s hard for you to decide but which of these are actually safe to eat and honestly produced? There is a small chance that one of these choices actually is or even worse, not even in the store. People don’t usually background check the chocolate bars they eat because they are too busy enjoying this sweet delicacy but what they don’t know is there is a another story behind the makings of that chocolate bar. Cocoa is a globally consumed commodity and is the main ingredient of chocolate bars; which comes from cocoa beans that are commonly grown in Africa. Farmers do their best to produce as many cocoa as they can to meet demands, but often result in child slavery and labor due to unfair exchange. This results in harmful activities for both the children and the environment just to meet the demands of cocoa production. But there are organizations and companies that are trying to reverse these negative actions to help promote safe, healthy, and slave free cocoa products; in which studies have shown that chocolate can be good for a person’s wellbeing.
Cocoa trees are commonly grown in parts of the world that is close to the equator and are primarily produced in Ghana and Ivory Coast in Africa where cocoa is a cash crop especially in these countries (World Cocoa Foundation, 2012). Farmers rely a lot on their cocoa farms so that they can make a living, but recently there have been unfair exchange for their crops leading into a drastic decrease of profit. These small cocoa farms owned by about 5-6 million farmers in Africa deliver more than 70% of the world cocoa production worldwide (World Cocoa Foundation, 2012). For one pound of chocolate to be made, farmers are to collect 400 dried beans from cocoa pods which usually contain about 20 to 50 beans (World Cocoa Foundation, 2012). Since farmers in Ghana and Ivory Coast rely heavily on their cocoa farms to do well so that they meet the demands of many around the world, some farmers have acquired child slaves and laborers to increase production for their cocoa to be distributed promptly resulting in scandalous production associated with some cocoa products (Food Is Power, 2014).
According to a research done by Tulane University in 2010, Ivory Coast and Ghana has a shocking 1.8 million children worker who are of age 5 to 17 that work in cocoa farms at the cost of their physical, mental and moral health (Global March 2014). In Ivory Coast and Ghana, child slavery and labor is prominent amongst the cocoa farms where they are worked several hours a week with dangerous equipment and chemicals, often malnourished and beaten. Typically these children come from countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Togo whose parent’s believes that if they sell their children to traffickers, their children will find honest jobs and send back a portion of their income back home. This is not...

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