Cocoa is the plant behind chocolate, one of the world’s most popular snacks. Chances are you ate some this week. While people love cocoa, they wouldn’t love the conditions faced by many of the people who grow it.

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Issouf, a farmer at a Fairtrade certified cooperative in Côte d'Ivoire, carries a basket of cocoa pods.
Image © Eric St-Pierre

Cocoa has grown to be one of the most prominent Fairtrade products since it was first certified in 1994. We are pushing the confectionary sector to address a host of challenges that threaten the long-term sustainability of cocoa and the people behind it.

Choosing Fairtrade cocoa makes a difference

The world’s appetite for cocoa is booming. And yet cocoa farmers around the world often struggle to make a living, despite their position as the source of a highly prized commodity.

Widespread poverty, deforestation, gender inequality, child labour and forced labour are persistent problems in the cocoa sector which could ultimately destroy it. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Fairtrade is helping to change the cocoa business for the better in a number of ways. When you choose Fairtrade cocoa and chocolate, you are supporting this drive for change.

  • Fairtrade cocoa farmers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price for their goods, which acts as a safeguard when market prices drop. Organic production is incentivized with a higher Minimum Price.

  • On top of the Minimum Price, farmer organizations also receive a Fairtrade Premium which they invest in projects of their choice. Many farmers have used the Premium to improve their businesses and production, replacing old trees and investing in better facilities for crop collection, storage and transport, or processing.

  • The confectionary industry is highly consolidated, and Fairtrade works with key industry players to enable them to source large volumes of sustainably produced cocoa. More sales mean more benefits for farmers.

  • Fairtrade is also pushing the envelope to establish living incomes for small-scale farmers. If we want cocoa in the future, cocoa farmers need to earn a decent and viable living from their work.

  • By supporting smallholder farmers to organize themselves into small producer organizations – such as cooperatives and associations – farmers can negotiate better terms of trade and reach wider markets.

Many cocoa farmers have never tasted chocolate, the lucrative consumer product that so much of the rest of the planet’s people enjoys. When you choose Fairtrade cocoa and chocolate, you help to put the livelihoods of those farmers back at the (chocolate) heart of the matter.

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Rice farmers used some Fairtrade Premium funds to make a sewing and craft centre for women, to supplement their income.
Image © Didier Gentilhomme

What is the Fairtrade premium?

The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice.

They decide together and democratically how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community. Farmers and workers know best what their priorities and needs are.

Since 2014, Fairtrade farmers and workers have received well over half a billion euros in Fairtrade Premium.

This is a unique benefit enabled by your decision to buy Fairtrade products.

Looking for Fairtrade Products?

Fairtrade products are widely available. The blue countries and territories on the map below have Fairtrade organizations that promote Fairtrade products. Their websites often include a product finder to show you the full variety of Fairtrade products near you. Even if there isn't a Fairtrade organization where you live, Fairtrade products may still be available – look for our familiar marks on products!