Black People : The Chocolate Thread

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by oldsoul, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    About Chocolate

    ...More than 40 Third World countries produce cocoa for world markets yet few of its people actually eat its product, chocolate. The rich are hooked on consuming it, the poor on producing it. John Tanner looks at a key primary commodity -and at how it conditions life in Ghana. Bite into a chewy Hershey Bar or select your favourite Cadbury’s chocolate and you are at one end of the cocoa trade. Swing your cutlass to sever the ripe yellowish-red pods from the cocoa bush and you are at the other.
    The chocolate bars we buy in the West never go down in price. Their prices are raised ’in line with inflation’ but never cut to fit in with the cheaper cost of cocoa on the world market. The result has been huge profits for the three multinational corporations which dominate the chocolate market: Mars and Hershey of the US and Nestle of Switzerland. The cocoa-producing countries at the other end of the chain have no such price stability. Every year the price of cocoa is utterly unpredictable - though in the last decade if you’d predicted disaster you wouldn’t have gone far wrong.
    In the 1980s world cocoa prices fell by half. More and more producers began chasing fewer and fewer buyers. Production soared. The surplus cocoa mountain now stands at a huge one million tons, almost half what the world produces each year. It is a sad but typical story of the trade in primary Commodities: Third World countries are so desperate to boost exports that each is always willing to undercut the next.
    Ghana is one of those countries dependent on cocoa for the hard cash it needs to develop. The tradition of cocoa growing has put down deep roots into Ghanaian soil. Each village in the central zone around the Asante city of Kumasi has its cocoa storehouse. When the ripened pods are collected, they are cut open to reveal the white beans which must be fermented and dried. It is skilled work fermenting the beans under plantain leaves and then turning them dark brown in the sun. Until 1980 Ghana was the world’s largest cocoa exporter. It lives, breathes and thinks cocoa. One Ghanaian in four earns their living from the crop, which provides 60 percent of the country’s foreign exchange. Cocoa supplies one third of Ghana s tax revenue. The cocoa-price slide of recent years has thus been a disaster. Ghanaian cocoa does attract a small premium for its flavour, particularly from traders supplying the British market. But even so, cocoa brought Ghana just $395 million in 1988, compared with $503 million in 1986. Even less is expected 1989.
    All the same, successive Ghanaian governments did not help over the years by ignoring the cocoa farmer and causing a collapse inproduction. The Ivory Coast paid its cocoa farmers much more for their beans and became the number one exporter. Cocoa farmers in Ghana were the goose that laid the golden eggs, but the goose was never fed. Cocoa could only be sold to the Ghanaian Cocoa Board (known locally as the Cocobod), which paid farmers a small fraction of the world market price. By the early 1980s villagers were being paid so little that they left beans on the ground to rot. Meanwhile, cocoa exports were used to finance luxury imports for the wealthy in Ghana and cocoa taxes paid for much of the civil service. The Cocobod’s pay-roll grew from 22,000 in 1964 to over 100,000 in 1985, all on the back of the cocoa farmer. When the current military government led by Flight-Lieutenant Jerry Rawlings came to power it investigated the Cocobod. It found that 15,000 of those on the payroll were ’ghost workers’ - staff who had died or long since left who were still being paid.
    Paradoxically, while the collapse in cocoa prices has been disastrous for Ghana as a whole, the cocoa farmers themselves, 95 per cent of whom work small-scale peasant plots, are now feeling much better off. The Rawlings Government, under International Monetary Fund (IMF) guidance, decided to pay the farmers more in a bid to rehabilitate the cocoa sector. ’Formerly they were not even buying our cocoa but now that Chairman Rawlings is in, he is giving us encouragement’, said one peasant. Today the Cocobod is paying farmers about half the world market price. That was cedis 10,440 ($37) for a 60-kilo sack of beans at the end of last year - about a month’s pay for a private soldier. Last season’s record crop was partly down to good weather but also a result of much better returns for growers. Peasants who in the drought years of 1983 and 1984 had switched to food crops have been returning again to cocoa cultivation.
    The economic recovery programme derived from the IMF has made winners out of cocoa farmers and businesspeople who can export.’ Entrepreneurs can keep 30 per cent of their foreign-exchange earnings to pay for the import. of luxuries. The losers are state-employed civil servants and teachers and, of course, the rural and urban poor. The civil servants and teachers have been forced to take second jobs, driving taxis or running market stalls. The poor are offered PAMSCAD, the Programme for Action to Mitigate the Social Costs of Adjustment, which has been slow to start.
    Once considered dangerously radical, the Rawlings regime is now much favored by foreign-aid donors and is held up by *he IMF as a shining example. ’Most of what we would like to see happens to be what the IMF would like to see,’ I was told by Government representative Paul Victor Obeng. As a result a continued slide in cocoa prices would undermine Ghana’s economic ’recovery’ and be highly embarrassing for the IMF. It is a nightmare scenario which Obeng would rather not think about and which would force him to say to Western countries: As you are paying less for our cocoa, please give us more aid instead’. The memory of hunger in 1983 and 1984, when bush fires raged, still haunts the Ghanaian imagination. The Government’s objective has been to reduce malnutrition among under-fives from the 42 per cent in 1985 to 17 per cent by this year. No-one knows how successful they have been but at the moment markets in the villages and towns are piled high with plantains, fruits and vegetables -at a price.
    Ghana does have enough land to feed itself. But the problem is that the amount of land claimed for agriculture by cutting down the forest has already reached its limits. This century Ghana’s forests have shrunk from 8.2 million square kilometers to only 1.9 million. If population continues to increase at 2.6 per cent a year, a choice will soon have to be made between growing cash crops or growing food. At the moment farmers are being paid to grow cocoa but food production is being left to market forces. Ghana probably has three options for the future. It can continue producing cocoa as now and hope that prices will recover and become more stable. It can develop the processing side of cocoa. Or it can switch to plantation production.
    Ghana already produces its own chocolate at the busy port of Tema, but only for home consumption. Ghana Cocoa Products manufactures its ’Golden Tree’ brand of milk chocolate, which is good quality and could in theory be exported. Demand for chocolate is increasing in the Third World, where the product usually has to be sold from the refrigerator. But Ghana would face fierce competition from companies such as Cadbury Schweppes. Alternatively it might process its own beans into cocoa powder and cocoa butter for export; subsidiaries of the big cocoa traders - Gill and Duffus of the UK, Cargill of the US and Cacao Barry of France - have been grinding beans in Brazil for home and abroad since the 1970s. Faced with such competition from multinationals, Ghana seems more likely to go down the road of creating its own plantations.

    Feel free to add your thoughts and information about chocolate to this thread
     
  2. OldSoul

    OldSoul Permanent Black Man PREMIUM MEMBER

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    Chocolate Economics

    [​IMG]
    Chocolate Economics

    some people swear white chocolate is the best,
    more pure and better, they say;
    but with so many delicious varieties, how can one truly tell?
    There's the Swiss chocolate, I guess it's grown in the Alps
    or the German chocolate from right across the border.
    What about the British chocolate
    or the rare chocolate from China;
    how different are they from Hershey's
    or chocolate from the Motherland?
    Is there chocolate in Spain, fancy or plain;
    from the Congo or Nome, how about Bahia or Rome?
    And we can't forget chocolate covered cherries
    which must grow on vines in heaven,
    on the corner of Dark Street and Rich Avenue
    right next to Chocolate Mousse Gardens.
    This is just a chocolate planet, from north to south,
    east and all through the west;
    I think I'll tour the Earth's chocolate islands
    and find out myself which is best;
    I'll keep a little for my personal use
    and sell you chocolate junkies the rest.

    --©12/29/02--
    http://whgbetc.com/oldsoul/chocolate_economics.html
     
  3. Clyde C Coger Jr

    Clyde C Coger Jr going above and beyond PREMIUM MEMBER

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    In the Spirit of Sankofa!

    Great class today bro. oldsoul, really good.

     
  4. Ankhur

    Ankhur Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Children in cocoa production
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    The widespread use of children in cocoa production is controversial not only because of the usual concerns about child labor and exploitation, but also because many of the children working in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry may be victims of human trafficking or slavery. (Up to 12,000 of the 200,000 children working there, according to the International Labour Organisation .[1]) Most attention on this subject has focused on West Africa, which collectively supplies nearly 80% of the world's cocoa,[2][3] and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) in particular, which supplies 46%. Thirty percent of children under age 15 in sub-Saharan Africa are child laborers, mostly in agricultural activities including cocoa farming.[4] The Large chocolate producers such as Cadbury, Hershey's, and Nestle buy cocoa at commodities exchanges where Ivorian cocoa is mixed with other cocoa


    Stop Chocolate Slavery
    http://vision.ucsd.edu/~kbranson/stopchocolateslavery/index.html
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzOskNU-GdM
     
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