Can $40 Million Help Build a More Sustainable Cocoa Industry?

…it’s a heck of a good start!

When I found out that there were several bitter truths beyond the taste of my favorite dark chocolate, another layer of guilt was added my guilty pleasure.

Not-so-sweet truths about ‘conventional’ chocolate include:

  • Pesticides used in ‘conventional’ cocoa farming impact the soil, water, and the health of cocoa farmers
  • Unethical practices in the cocoa industry – especially in Africa – include forced child labor, unfair pay, and poor working conditions

That’s why I was pleased as punch to read about the World Cocoa Foundation’s June Partnership meeting in Washington, D.C. June 3-4th. The meeting will be attended by top U.S. foreign agriculture brass and many other key decision makers in the industry. According to the WCF’s President, Bill Gutyon, “Efforts to improve farming practices, incomes and overall wellbeing for the millions of people who grow this unique crop are expanding significantly.”

One great start is the Cocoa Livelihoods Program, a new, $40 million program funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, eleven leading chocolate industry companies, and other partners. The program aims to significantly improve the livelihoods of approximately 200,000 cocoa farmers in West and Central Africa.

Show your support for organic chocolate with this scrumptious cupcake recipe; and let us know what favorite organic, fair trade chocolate brands are in your cupboard. We love hearing from you!