Luxury and Livelihood
More than half of the world’s chocolate comes from two countries in West Africa where it is produced by smallholders working just a few acres of land, and who have likely never tasted chocolate. Cacao is a cash crop, accounting for a large percentage of family income in many countries. These incomes are low and represent a fraction of the price of a bar of chocolate. Cultivating cacao is a family affair and in some countries, cacao farmers are too poor to not have their children working on the farm. But child labour on cacao farms can include more than children of the family—children from neighbouring areas or countries leave their homes in search of paid employment. Taken to farms with the promise of getting paid for their work, they find themselves working for no money and with barely adequate food and shelter. Although the use of child labor on cacao farms in West Africa was discovered nearly twenty years ago, the problem persists. This chapter examines the many challenges facing the global chocolate industry, including grower poverty and child labor, and the efforts being made to tackle these problems.
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