FAIRTRADE DEUTSCHLAND is holding a press conference at ISM Cologne

by Bea Brodmann

Farmers and trees need better prices – Fairtrade at the ISM confectionery trade show

At the ISM in Cologne FAIRTRADE DEUTSCHLAND is conducting a press conference. Chocolats Halba has been invited thanks to its cocoa origin sustainability projects, flagship projects whose impact extends well beyond Fairtrade certification.


“The dynamic agroforestry culture method means that cocoa plantation productivity can be increased significantly.” Petra Heid, Head of Sustainability at Chocolats Halba/Sunray.


A cocoa price that makes a good future possible – unfortunately, the reality in the major growing countries in Ivory Coast and Ghana does not conform to this simple wish: “The global market price is too low for an income that safeguards the farmers’ livelihoods. This is often compounded by small growing areas and small harvests”, explains Anne Marie Yao, Cocoa Manager at Fairtrade Africa, at the ISM confectionery trade show. Supply chains are being endangered by poverty, climate change and the migration of young people. The good news is that more and more companies are endeavouring to make their supply chains more sustainable and are counting on Fairtrade when purchasing raw materials. In 2019, cocoa sales grew by 28% to around 70,000 tonnes of Fairtrade cocoa, according to initial calculations. The market share currently stands at around 15%.

Despite this success, Fairtrade is calling for a supply chain law: “Partners committed to sustainability have higher costs and thus a competitive disadvantage”, said TransFair Managing Director, Dieter Overath. “The time has come for politicians to promote sustainable products and ethical consumption and for fair competition that benefits the weakest players.” 


Trees as a bulwark against climate change

Price pressure does not just have a negative impact on people. Over 90% of the jungles in West Africa have disappeared. This is partly due to cocoa growing. To counter the destruction, the Swiss chocolate manufacturer Chocolats Halba launched a project in Ghana together with Fairtrade Africa and other partners. 2,500 farmers are being supported in converting their cocoa monocultures into organically diverse agroforestry plots. Over the next three years, 400 hectares of cocoa plantations will be upgraded with fruit trees, hardwood trees and crops such as beans and maize. “The dynamic agroforestry culture method means that cocoa plantation productivity can be increased significantly. On the same plot, farmers can grow food and hardwood trees, which helps to raise their incomes and contributes to a more resilient climate and to retention of the forests”, affirms Petra Heid, Head of Sustainability at Chocolats Halba/Sunray.

Multifaceted problems call for versatile solutions

Anne Marie Yao from Fairtrade Africa confirms that different approaches are needed in order to improve the situation: “Our goal is to diversify farming so that people can earn a living from things other than cocoa. We also specifically assist women, as they are often the ones who do the most work and earn the least.”

Yao is calling on the confectionery industry, politicians and consumers to systematically support Fairtrade: “The minimum price provides stability and planning security. The Fairtrade premium makes a substantial contribution to implementing joint projects at the local level.” Fairtrade also welcomes the announcement by Ghana and Ivory Coast that a state surcharge for cocoa prices will be introduced. “Generally speaking, this is a good idea that will benefit all farmers, including those who are not certified”, says Yao.



*** Chocolats Halba at ISM: Stand M018, Hall 4.2 ***


Go back