Lower school information pack


Cacao Growers

You are a farmer. You grow cacao. Normal prices for your crop don’t give you enough money to provide clean water, food, clothing, protection or schooling for your children. You need a fair price for your cacao crop!

Your mission

is to persuade people to buy

ONLY Fair Trade chocolate.

To accomplish your mission you need to answer these questions:

1.What have cacao growers got to do with chocolate?

2.Why is it bad to be a cacao grower on the Ivory Coast?

3.Why is it better to be a cacao grower in Ghana than on the Ivory Coast?

4.How would people who eat and make chocolate be affected if cacao growers were paid more?

Then you need to do this:

• Use the evidence you have found to convince everyone that they should buy

ONLY Fair Trade chocolate.

Where can you find information?:

Your group has access to an information pack and a computer so that you can do some more research. You will also have access to atlases.

Lower School Information Pack

1.What have cacao growers got to do with chocolate?

You and your family live and work on a small plot of land on the

Ivory Coast of Africa. You grow cacao beans. These are big seeds that can be processed to make chocolate liquor and cocoa butter – the most important raw ingredients for making chocolate.

You work terribly hard but you are paid a very low price for your

crop of cacao beans. So you are extremely poor. It is hard to stay alive and healthy. You and your family need shelter, enough food and clean water. You would love to be able to send your children to school so they can be educated and have a better life when they grow up but you can not afford to let them go to school.

You’ve heard that cacao farmers in Ghana have a better life than you

because they sell some of their beans to Fair Trade buyers who give a better price for the beans. .

Chocolate comes from cacao beans.

The beans grow on a small tropical tree called the Cacao tree.(Said “Ka-KOW”)

These trees can grow in the tropics – a part of the world quite near the Equator, mainly covered by tropical rainforest.

About 70% of the world's cacao is grown in

Africa: most in the Ivory Coast and a lot in


Cacao trees produce rugby-ball shaped fruits called cacao pods.

They grow from the branches and also straight out of the trunk. Each tree can produce nearly two thousand pods in a year.

The trees will break easily, so the farmers cut down the pods by standing on the ground and using a long knife called a machete.

Sometime they put the machete on a long pole.

The workers open the pods with their machetes, taking care not to damage the beans inside.

Inside each fruit pod is sticky, white pulp and about 30-40 seeds.

Lower school information pack

Cacao growers

1.What have cacao growers got to do with chocolate?

Cacao is the main ingredient in chocolate.

The cacao beans are placed in pits or wooden bins and covered with banana leaves and left to ferment. Fermentation is a chemical reaction in which sugars in the fruit turn to alcohol. Fermentation makes heat.

• The fermentation process lasts several days. The fruity pulp rots away and the colour of the beans changes from pale to dark brown.

• The heat of fermentation changes the bitter flavours in the beans making them taste a bit more like chocolate.

• After fermentation, the beans are dried in the sun for about a week.

• The flavour continues to develop during this time.

• Some manufacturers try to speed this process along by drying the beans over a fire, which makes them taste smoky.

When the fermented beans are dry, they can be sold.

The farmers sell their fermented, dried beans to a buyer for a very low price. The buyer takes the beans away from the farms to a city. In the city, he sells the beans to foreign companies for a higher price.

They use the beans to make chocolate in their own lands. They sell the chocolate for quite high prices.

The people who make the chocolate are paid far more than the growers.

No cacao farmer would ever be able to afford a block of chocolate.

The factories roast and grind the cacao beans to make chocolate

Cacao growers

Lower school information pack

2) Why is it bad to be a cacao grower on the Ivory Coast?

The money you get for selling your beans is very low. You don’t earn enough to live a decent life.

Quick facts

•Many cacao farmers are terribly poor.

•Cocoa farmers are some of the poorest people in the world and many of them only earn about £50 a year.

•Cocoa farm workers don’t even have enough money for proper food, medicine, clean water or school for their children.

Child Slavery on the plantations

•A lot of the world's cocoa is grown by child slaves.

•More than 15,000 child slaves work on cacao farms in West Africa.

•They are sold by their parents, who need more money to stay alive

•The people who buy the children don’t send any money from the children’s work back to their families but keep it themselves

•It is hard for chocolate manufacturers to tell which cacao is grown by slaves and which isn't.

Cacao growers

The lives of the cacao farmers and their children

People who work to grow and farm Cacao have to work

very hard.

The workers can’t afford to buy boots to protect their feet from the scorpions that live among the cacao trees. (A bite from a scorpion is poisonous.)

There are about 130 000 children working on cacao plantations on the Ivory Coast with their parents.

Few children go to school. They work the same hours as the adults and do hard and dangerous jobs like:

•spraying poisonous bug sprays without any protective clothes

•using very sharp machetes to open cacao pods. (Many children working on the farms have untreated machete cuts.)

•carrying terribly heavy loads.

Lower school information pack

2) Why is it bad to be a cacao grower on the Ivory Coast?

It is really bad for children of cacao growers on the Ivory Coast.

The Ivory Coast in West Africa produces half the world's cocoa but it is

NOT fair trade. This badly affects the children and their education.

Many children on the Ivory Coast have no schools. They are kept out of school to work in the cocoa plantations.

"I used to go to school," said Marc Yao Kwame, who works with his brother Fabrice on a remote farm. "But my father has no-one to work on the farm, so he took me out of school. "My mother's a long way from here. I haven't seen her for 10 years - since I was two years old."

Many children like Marc And Fabrice still work on the cocoa plantations.

Lots of then have untreated wounds on their legs, where they have cut themselves with sharp knives called machetes.

At the village of Petit Yammousoukro, there is a project to take children off cocoa farms and send them to school. The school in the picture was opened in January 2008. It is a mud hut, with a straw roof and a gap in the wall for a window. It was built by the villagers themselves. The wooden desks and a blackboard were paid for by an aid agency. There are about 50 children in the school, aged from early teens down to three or four. All of them used to farm cocoa. The children are all scared that they may have to go back and work on the farms. Many have scars from machete injuries.

Chocolate manufacturers have known for years that thousands of children work in really bad conditions on the cocoa farms. They agreed to provide 40 schools but so far, there are only six mud hut schools. The person in charge has no money for more buildings, or for training staff, or for vehicles to take the children or places for the children to stay. “We don't have anything to make this project work, " he says.

Lower school information pack

3) Why is it better to be a cacao grower in Ghana than on the Ivory Coast?

Many Ghanaian farmers sell some of their crops to

Fair Trade buyers. This makes sure that they get a good price for their cocoa. It also makes sure that the buyers weigh the beans fairly.

These farmers can afford to :

• send their children to school,

• buy boots to protect their feet and

• get good health care.

Ghanaian farmers who sell at a fair price can afford to farm in a better way. They can grow their cacao in the shade of the forest canopy, which is much better for the environment than chopping down all the trees.

One group of Ghanaian farmers have a share in a chocolate making business. They sell to the Fair Trade chocolate market and get a fair price for their beans.

They also own 45% of the chocolate making company:

‘Divine Chocolate’. So these farmers get 45% of the profit when people buy ‘Divine’ chocolate. They are the only cacao farmers in the world who do this.

It gives them business knowledge and experience and a real voice in the chocolate industry.

Not all Ghanaian farmers part own a chocolate company.

But many of them can sell some of their crops at a good price to other Fair Trade buyers, including Cadbury.

Fair trade (paying a fair price for cacao beans) benefits the cacao growers in Ghana a lot.

Now the children of the cacao farmers can all go to school.

Extra earnings can benefit the whole community. This water well provides clean water for the whole village. It was paid for by earnings from Fair Trade cocoa sales.

Lower school information pack

3) Why is it better to be a cacao grower in Ghana than on the Ivory Coast?

It’s very hard work to grow cacao – and it is very badly paid!

No farmers on the Ivory Coast get Fair Trade prices. The price they get is always VERY low.

Many farmers in Ghana are paid a fairer, higher price for their cacao beans.

Selling the beans you’ve grown

Sometimes the people who weigh the sacks of your dried cacao beans cheat people on the Ivory Coast. They say there is less in the sack than there really is! However, the farmers there still have to sell to these cheats because they need the money.

Q: What does Fair Trade mean?

A: When farmers and labourers are paid a fair price for their products it is called "Fair Trade."

Every year, people from Fair Trade come to inspect the farms and make sure the workers are treated fairly. They do not allow slavery.

The picture shows beans being weighed fairly in Ghana.

Fair Trade Ghanaian cacao is sold at a higher price to the chocolate makers so the cacao workers get more money. This means they can afford to feed and school their children. It also means they can grow their crops organically.

In Ghana, they use natural methods of fertilisation and growing which are better for the environment. The cacao beans are higher quality, too.

Chocolate that is not fair trade (most of the chocolate that you eat and all the chocolate coming from the Ivory Coast) has not been grown like this.

Ivory Coast cacao is grown by cutting down large parts of the rainforest. Big companies that need lots of beans create whole fields of cacao trees because it is cheaper to do this than to grow cacao trees in lots of smaller areas. This is not good for the environment.

Also, as there is no protection from bigger trees, lots of bugs and pests can get to the cacao pods so the workers have to use poisonous sprays to get rid of the bugs. They do not have special clothing to protect them from the poisons and some get sick

Lower school information pack

Cacao workers

4) How would people who eat and make chocolate be affected if cacao growers were paid more?

How much do you earn each day growing cacao on the Ivory Coast?

Your earnings:

An Ivory Coast cocoa farmer like you usually produces 5 sacks of cocoa a year. Last year, you were paid £51 for each sack. How much money did you earn in that year?

How much did you earn each day?

British workers’ earnings (minimum wage):

The minimum wage in Britain is £5.60 per hour. A

British working day is usually 8 hours long. How much do low paid British workers earn in a day?

•The world cocoa market (the raw material you help to provide) is worth about $10 billion.

•The world chocolate market is worth nearly $80 billion.

•The British chocolate market is worth about $5 billion.

•Most cacao bean farmers live on less than $2 per day

•Cocoa growers only receive around 6 per cent of the price of chocolate paid by consumers in rich countries


Find out how badly you are paid, compared with low paid British workers.

Click here to see if you are right

Other information:

FACT: The average UK family spends more on chocolate in a year than a cocoa farmer earns in a year.


British people eat a lot of chocolate - 10kg for each person for each year on average.


If more people in Britain ate Fair Trade chocolate, there would be real benefits for cocoa farmers.

Lower school information pack

4) How would people who eat and make chocolate be affected if cacao growers were paid more?

How much of the money from chocolate sales goes to the growers and how much goes to other people?

Cacao growers only get about 6 per cent of the price of chocolate paid by consumers in rich countries.

So, if a bar of chocolate costs £1, only 6p of this money goes to the cacao growers.

You could show this on a diagram and use it during your presentation…

Make a big diagram (e.g. a pie chart or a big square of chocolate) and colour in the tiny fraction of this money that goes to the cacao farmers.



In 2010, the global chocolate market was worth

$80 billion. The global cocoa market was worth only $10 billion.

To do: Make a chart to compare the value of the two markets mentioned above.

The difference between them shows you how much ‘value’ is added to the raw ingredients by roasting, grinding and making them into chocolate.

FACT: There are hundreds of chocolate brands in the UK. The biggest companies spend up to 10% of their profit margins – tens of millions of pounds – on advertising and selling their chocolate brands.


Do you think this is fair? Why? Why not?

Would the money be better spent on paying a fair price to the growers?

Lower school information pack