Happy International Chocolate Day from PMIA

in Latest News

As our loyal customers and supporters have probably noticed from our online store, Team PMIA is a gang of chocolate lovers!  We always tell people we have the best job in the world working for Proudly Made in Africa as we get to sample the best food and fashion products from Africa but chocolate tasting days are always a special treat.  We currently work with three award-winning chocolate producers from Ghana, Madagascar and Uganda, two of which are available to buy on our store.  And today, in celebration of International Chocolate Day 2021, we’re offering selected discounts on our chocolate range.

Today is a day to indulge in sampling and savouring chocolate worldwide but it is also cause for us to reflect here at Proudly Made in Africa HQ.  Chocolate is not only the fuel that powers our work week; it is an important product for the producers that PMIA works with and the economies of cocoa-producing countries. 

Africa produces more than 80% of the world’s cocoa[1] but this is mostly sold on to other parts of the world to be made into chocolate.  Belgium is famous for its world-class chocolate but cocoa, the main ingredient, is not Belgian.  In fact, most of Belgium’s cocoa (99%)[2] is imported from Côte d'Ivoire, the world’s largest cocoa producing country by some distance. 

Today, we ask questions:

What does it mean for Africa to produce over 80% of the world’s cocoa but only create 1% of its chocolate?  Is income from cocoa farming enough to lift 6 million people[3] out of poverty?  How can a multi-billion dollar industry be fairer for the producers of its key ingredient?

Cocoa is a commodity and tied to the volatile prices of the commodity market.  The top three cocoa-producing nations are in what is classed as the “developing” world or our preferred term, the overexploited[4] world. 

Cocoa farmers regularly report that the money they receive for their crop is not enough to live on[5]. According to an Esri cocoa study in 2019, the average Ivorian cocoa farmer earns 97 cents a day, well below the international poverty line of $1.90[6].

If trade in emerging nations is over-dependent on single commodities (Cocoa accounts for 40% of Côte d'Ivoire’s export trade and 10% of its GDP), then this is a recipe for perpetual poverty.

Our study of value chains shows that African cocoa farmers get just 15% of the value created in the  chocolate supply chain.  The majority 85% percent of the value is created in Europe and other parts of the world where the chocolate is manufactured.

Proudly Made in Africa believes in finding trade solutions that retain value at the source of the raw material.  Through our work, we have found that when cocoa is processed into chocolate in Africa and then exported to the world, more than 65% of the value remains in Africa.  The increased value that remains on the continent enables decent job creation, industrial development and the increased economic growth and activity needed to break the poverty cycle in some of the world’s poorest nations.

The current structure of exporting raw materials in bulk from the African continent has its roots in Colonialism.  Africa was conquered by various European invading forces and used as a feeder of abundant natural resources to established European industries.

Despite independence, many African countries today still work under the same antiquated trade structures of supplying raw materials to non-indigenous industries.  What this means is that many African economies are over-reliant on low value agricultural or extractives trade and since these commodities typically command low or at least volatile prices on international markets, it makes scaling up development a difficult task.

This is an issue that is being recognised increasingly by African leaders.  In 2020 on a state visit to Switzerland (the world’s third largest chocolate producer), the president of Ghana (the world’s second largest cocoa producing country) announced that Ghana would no longer sell its cocoa to Switzerland and other countries as it would be prioritising its own chocolate-making industry development[7].   In President Akufo-Addo’s words, “There can be no future prosperity for the Ghanaian people in the short, medium, or long term if we continue to maintain economic structures that are dependent on the production and export of raw materials.”

When chocolate is made in Africa, Africans are enabled to benefit fully from their own natural resources and this is good for everyone.

Chocolate produced in Africa will still be sold globally.  Jobs that are created around the African chocolate industry include logistics, sales and marketing roles in Europe and beyond. 

Enabling an African chocolate industry to flourish would also support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal targets on reducing poverty, creating decent work and economic growth and industry innovation. 

It is about time that the producers of the key ingredients of chocolate are allowed to enjoy their fair share of a 137 billion[8] dollar industry by making African chocolate on a large scale.

So today, PMIA invites chocolate lovers to decolonise chocolate and be part of this push for fairer global trade by buying some wonderful African chocolate.

Enjoy the choccy chomping today and Happy Chocolate Day 2021 everyone!

Authors: Vikki Brennan, Dr. David Nyaluke

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/263855/cocoa-bean-production-worldwide-by-region/ , Jul 2021

[2] https://www.cbi.eu/market-information/cocoa-cocoa-products/belgium/market-potential , Jan 2020

[3] https://www.fairtrade.ie/farmers-and-workers/cocoa/ , Jul 2021

[4] Parenti, Michael, Against Empire, Chapter 1: http://www.michaelparenti.org/Imperialism101.html , City Lights 2001

[5] https://www.fairtrade.net/news/cocoa-farmers-dont-earn-a-living-income-government-role , Nov 2020

[6] https://www.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=dd19d4b6444e492da5b069d62d2c3ecb , Dec 2019

[7] https://www.ft.com/content/dbd20f9f-b9f7-4bf4-86dd-1a8c84069f01 , Jun 2021

[8] https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201207005451/en/Global-Chocolate-Market-Report-2020-Market-to-Reach-US182.090-Billion-by-2025-Increasing-from-US137.599-Billion-in-2019---ResearchAndMarkets.com , Dec 2020

Popular Posts