The Chocolate Life

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I run a FT/Org chocolate business (Sweet Earth Organic Chocolates) using a chocolate that incorporates Trinitario beans from Dominican Republic and Criollo beans from Peru. Not believing that FT is enough, I also take people on tours of cocoa villages in Ghana and Ivory Coast, the heart of the cocoa-growing for the lowest quality American chocolate, believing that somehow there must be a way to help cocoa farmers make more money.

I am also interested in the concept of Direct Trade, where the buyer pays for quality directly to the farmer. I would love to learn from others in this business about their experiences. Apparently there's a cooperative in Grenada that is doing a world of good for the farmers AND producing the chocolate right on the island! I would like to talk to other professionals about how we producers can make cocoa-growing an honorable and remunerative profession.

Tags: directtrade, fairtrade, organic

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I'll be interested to follow this discussion. I fully support the intent of fair trade but have heard that the certification process (much like the OG one) is often better served than the farmers. Is direct trade a better answer? Is FT certification doing what it intended or is the certifying board reaping all the benefits. I really want to be better educated about all of this, too.

Hello Tom, I´ve just noticed you post about direct trade (DT).  We are a cacao farm in Costa Rica and we have been direct trading with several bean to bar chocolate makers in the USA and Europe for some years now.  For us, DT is not only about getting better prices, but also about building strong relationships, trust and certainly a way to improve our practices for better quality.  We receive our clients at the farm and we enjoy their involvement and accept their comments, as friends do.  As we want to be chocolate makers as well, we also receive important advice.    

We were certified as an organic farm for six years, and during that time we were NEVER asked by the certification body about fair salaries, child labor force or about any other human rights.  And those are the real questions to be placed to a cacao farm.  

Best Regards

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