Find it now at Hansa.
Find it now at Hansa.
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Which ingredients spring to mind when you think of Fairtrade? Chocolate, coffee, bananas and tea might be the most obvious products, but did you know that Fairtrade works with avocado and coconut farmers too?
Fairtrade certifies over 150 different ingredients and raw materials. Working with over 1.66 million farmers and workers, Fairtrade stands with farmers for fairness and equality, against some of the biggest challenges the world faces.
Here are five ingredients that you might not realise could be sourced as Fairtrade…….
What is World Chocolate Day?
World Chocolate Day is sometimes referred to as International Chocolate Day. It takes place on 7 July every year, and put simply, it’s a celebration of all things chocolate! The event was created in 2009. In some countries around the world, the day is celebrated on different dates. But July 7 was chosen for World Chocolate Day because this day is thought to be around the time that chocolate was introduced to European countries. It quickly became a favourite treat in South Africa and across the world!
Why is World Chocolate Day Celebrated?
World Chocolate Day is all about eating chocolate! It’s a celebration of chocolate creations everywhere. No matter what your favourite brand or kind of chocolate is, anyone can celebrate by treating themselves to a little nibble on 7 July. Think of it like a celebration of chocolate becoming well-known and well-loved around the world. Americans celebrate International Chocolate Day on 13 September, because this was the birthday of Milton Hershey, the founder of the Hershey chocolate company.
What is the history of chocolate?
Chocolate originated in Mexico, where Olmec people grew cacao for the first time. The cacao tree species is thought to be around 100 million years old! Word of mouth tales speak of the Olmecs using cacao to make drinks, but there’s no written evidence of this. Their knowledge was passed to the Ancient Maya, who lived in Mexico and Central America. They transformed chocolate into a spiced drink that was used in special ceremonies.
Cacao became a precious commodity, and later the Aztecs used cacao for trade, even using the seeds as a form of money! Cacao was presented to Christopher Columbus in 1502 as he explored the new world. Initially, he thought that the beans were a new type of almond. The true significance of chocolate wasn’t discovered by the wider world until 1519. It was in this year that Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortez arrived in Central America and saw the Aztec emperor drinking ‘Xocalatl’, which would come to be known as the earliest known hot chocolate.
Ten years later, Cortez set up a cacao plantation for trading and the beans and recipe where transported to Spain, where cinnamon and other spices were added to it along with sugar to make it sweeter. Cacao on its own is very bitter! Chocolate spreads across Europe then, with this first chocolate house opening in London in 1657. Chocolate remains a drink until 1830, when the first moulded chocolate bar was produced.
When you choose Fairtrade chocolate, you know that the farmers and workers who produced the cocoa in it, received an additional Fairtrade Premium on top of the price of their crop which they can invest in their communities and use to fight the effects of climate change.
The price of cocoa beans has slumped in recent years despite high demand, and disease and age are damaging cocoa trees. Young people are increasingly reluctant to choose cocoa farming as a career, because the pay and rewards are so limited for what is a very labour intensive job.
Fairtrade cocoa farmers in places like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana are guaranteed the Fairtrade minimum price for their crop, plus an additional Fairtrade Premium. It means they are more likely to be able to cover household costs like education, food and healthcare and invest the extra Premium to benefit the wider community, such as buying hospital and school equipment.
Co-op are proud to champion Fairtrade and sell Fairtrade products conveniently, so that you can make a difference every time you shop with the Co-op.
Buying Fairtrade means you’re making a difference. By choosing this product, you’re helping to bring a meaningful difference to Fairtrade producers and their communities, whilst protecting the environment.
It is estimated that 125 million people depend on coffee for their livelihood, from the farmers, to those in transportation, as well as roasters and retailers. Baristas and coffee shops were some of the first to close the doors when lockdown began. Despite this challenging environment, coffee lovers have still sourced their favourite drink, due largely to the resilience of coffee producers and the supply chain. Consumer purchasing of coffee remains buoyant – already the number one e-commerce grocery product before the pandemic – the growing trend for online coffee subscriptions is key to this success.
Latin America has faced many challenges in the wake of Covid-19; reported at one point to be one of the worst hit regions in the world. The coffee growing countries of Honduras and Peru were impacted by severe lockdown restrictions, which affected the entire production process. However, despite this, many farmers reported a bumper harvest, surpassing expectations. Nevertheless, the volatility of global coffee prices continues due to uncertainty in the market, with ongoing speculation about supply and demand. We caught up with our regional team to understand more about the opportunities and challenges currently facing co-operatives and communities.
Lending Manager for Central America, Marco Garcia, said: “During the first wave of Covid-19, the major issue for our customers proved to be buyers cancelling or postponing contracts, due to the uncertain demand caused by lockdown. With the exception of Nicaragua (where the government did not impose restrictions), a general challenge for our producers was to maintain operations, with travel restrictions affecting export. For the current season, we expect a less complicated scenario, since buyers and farmers have made adjustments so they can continue to trade.”
The high altitude and rich soils of the Copán region of Honduras, are perfect for coffee growing and farmers here produce some of the highest quality beans in Central America. In 2014, a group of 25 farmers came together with the ambition to export this premium quality coffee to customers worldwide. They became known as Cafescor, and since then they have grown their membership to over 400 coffee farmers. In 2019, they became a Shared Interest customer and began to focus their efforts on enhancing the quality of their coffee even further, and as a result, improving the quality of life for farmers.
General Manager of Cafescor, Herminio Perdomo, said: “Shared Interest finance allows Cafescor to continue supporting farmers with timely payments for their produce.”
We asked Hermino about the impact Covid-19 has had on the co-operative. He said: “During 2020, the general population had to respect strict travel restrictions that allowed each citizen to work only one day out of five, based on their national ID number. Therefore, staff attended the production plant on a rotation basis for some months. In addition, coffee co-operatives in Honduras had to request a special working permit that allowed the operation of the production facility and the transport of some staff members to the premises. In 2021, the government has not requested this special permit anymore. We have adapted our operations to continue with production plans. To date, we have gathered 90% of the forecasted volume for the ongoing cycle thanks to good planning.”
Around 80m of these Easter goodies fly off UK shelves around this time of year, and so let’s egg on our friends and family to go Fairtrade for their seasonal chocolatey treat.
Because more of us choosing Fairtrade means more power and more pay in the hands of the hard-working cocoa farmers behind those Easter eggs.
And that means whole communities with more control over their future, and with more resources to build better lives and take on the climate crisis.
So let’s share the good news that this Easter it’s extra easy to take a bite in the right direction!
“WE HAVE BEEN ABLE TO BUILD A SCHOOL, ACCOMMODATION FOR THE TEACHERS OF THE SCHOOL, WE HAVE RENOVATED THE HOSPITAL, WE HAVE GIVEN AN AMBULANCE TO THE HOSPITAL, ALL OF THIS WITH THE FAIRTRADE PREMIUM. AND WE HAVE A PROJECT TO BUILD THE HEADQUARTERS THAT THE CO-OPERATIVE DESERVES BY THE END OF THE YEAR. WITHOUT FAIRTRADE WE WOULDN’T BE IN THIS POSITION.”
BENGALY BOURAMA, SECRETARY GENERAL OF THE COOBADI CO-OPERATIVE IN CÔTE D’IVOIRE
Here is the Fairtrade Foundation’s pick of 14 ethical Fairtrade coffees, tried and tested and chosen for their people-friendly and eco-friendly credentials.
These coffees are ethical in a number of ways, but even being Fairtrade is enough for them to rightly claim ethical status. Being part of the Fairtrade system means that farmers are better protected against low and unpredictable incomes, it means they are paid a fair price and it means improved knowledge of sustainable farming practices, all of which make them better able to protect the local environment and address the challenges of the climate crisis.
When you choose Fairtrade, you are helping to protect people and planet. Start your day with one of these coffees and you’ll be starting the day right. Now, some may only be available in the UK, but that’s no excuse, shops in the Bailiwick have more than enough Fairtrade choice! ENJOY!