Australian consumers are being encouraged to be “good eggs” this Easter by buying ethically sourced chocolate to drive up demand for Fairtrade products and improve the lives of some of the world’s poorest people.
Oxfam Australia Trading General Manager Julia Sumner said that due to limited demand in the global marketplace, Fairtrade certified cocoa farmers were selling only 33 per cent of their produce under Fairtrade terms.
This means that farmers are not guaranteed to receive a fair and stable price on all of their produce, and do not receive the security of long-term contracts or additional funds for investments in training and community development projects on non-Fairtrade transactions.
Ms Sumner said Australian consumers could play a large part in increasing demand for ethically sourced cocoa by selecting Fairtrade chocolate this Easter.
“Sales of chocolate go through the roof in our Oxfam Shops in the lead up to Easter,” Ms Sumner said.
“What we would like to see is more and more Australian consumers demanding ethically sourced cocoa products so that cocoa farmers have the opportunity to sell a higher percentage of their yield under Fairtrade terms.
“Fairtrade certification not only means that cocoa farmers are paid a fair price for their produce, it also means farmers are paid a Fairtrade premium, which is used for investment in social, environmental and economic development projects.”
Fairtrade certified cocoa producer ECOOKIM in Côte d’Ivoire has been investing its premium into business projects since becoming Fairtrade certified in 2011.
Using the Fairtrade premium, the organisation has hired an agricultural technician to train farmers in the use of approved fertilisers and implemented plant nurseries to ensure long-term business sustainability.
ECOOKIM has also built warehouses for storing cocoa and established training schemes for new farming techniques and improved fermentation practices.
“By supporting Fairtrade certified cocoa farmers this Easter, Australian consumers are casting their vote for a more ethical world,” Ms Sumner said.
In addition to stocking Fairtrade certified products, Oxfam also works with the Fairtrade Licensing Organisation to provide guidance in the development of new standards and in strengthening existing standards.
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