Cacao Archives

Ivorian Cocoa Flows Again

Just a week ago, the first cargo ship left the port of San Pedro laden with cocoa. The chocolate industry can breathe easier again and things, at least related to cocoa, are returning to normal again. That’s good news for cocoa farmers. When the embargo was put in place, the…

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Is It Imperialism?

After almost six months, the saga of the Ivorian ill-fated election is finally over. Yesterday, April 11, Laurent Gbagbo was arrested and his decade-long reign is over. There is disagreement as to whether he was arrested by the forces supporting Ouattara or by French forces. The French, the UN and…

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Some Background to the Ivorian Crisis

As the standoff continues in the Côte d’Ivoire, I thought it’d be good to provide a little background. After all, there’s more to the story than a sore loser–Gbagbo–not wanting to give up his job as president. To get a little deeper, we have to look at how Côte d’Ivoire…

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Côte d’Ivoire Tragedy Continues

First, my apologies for the long silence of this blog. I’ve had a really busy time and blog updates have taken a back seat. But I had to add a post, now that the presidential election in the Côte d’Ivoire has deteriorated into chaos. A quick summary: after five years…

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October is Fairtrade Month

Ok, folks. I’m a bit late with that information but here are some resources to help you buy more fairtrade products. Think there’s only fairtrade coffee and chocolate? Think again. Here’s a list of products available with fairtrade certification. Keep an eye out for them at your favorite store. Share:

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Ghana Increases Producer Prices

With the new cocoa season underway, Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) announced a 33 percent increase in farm gate prices. The new price of GH¢200 per bag lifts the per ton price to GH¢3,200 ($2,238) from last year’s GH2,400. The new prices recognizes the increases in the world market price over…

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Uganda Aims to Expand Cocoa Production

More and more countries situated in the magic band of 20 degrees north and south of the equator are giving cocoa another look. The high prices of the moment are probably an important factor. Uganda is not a name usually associated with cocoa. But the country has been busy expanding…

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Ghana Secures $1.5 Billion for 2010/11 Cocoa Harvest

In what has become an annual ritual, Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) managed to secure a $1.5 billion financing facility for the 2010/11 cocoa harvest. In a sign that international credit markets have eased up, the financing facility was oversubscribed. Banks from around the world actually offered $1.8 billion while COCOBOD…

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Hershey and Social Responsibility

Last week, the Hershey company released its Corporate Social Responsibility Report. Like many of such reports, it’s full of pretty pictures and statistics. What it does not mention is that Hershey is the only large chocolate maker in the US which has not yet participated in some form of third…

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“Choc Finger” Got Fingered

In July, I posted several comments on the attempt by Anthony Ward of Armajaro to corner the cocoa futures market by purchasing seven percent of the world supply of cocoa beans. Well, it turns out that he lost his bet. Rather than continue to increase, cocoa futures prices are down.…

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Cocoa DNA Unravelled

It was only a question of time before it would happen, but on Wednesday, the New York Times (and many other news outlets) announced that two teams of scientists had sequenced the complete DNA chain of the cocoa tree. Most appropriately, the news appeared in the business section, not the…

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Kuapa Kokoo Elects First Woman President

2,600 delegates to the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of Kuapa Kokoo elected Christina Ohene Agyare as new president of the cocoa farmers’ cooperative in Ghana. Ms Agyare is fifty-one and owns an eleven acre cocoa farm in the the Kwabeng Society in the Atiwa District, Eastern Region of the country.…

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The Man Who Just Bought 7 Percent of the World’s Cocoa

Anthony Ward, founder and CEO of Armajaro who just took delivery of all that cocoa, gave an interview in January that give some insight into why he bought so much cocoa. He is clearly betting on future shortages and hopes to cash in on the likely profits. On the other…

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‘Choc Finger’ Just Bought 7% of Global Cocoa Supplies

So it was Armajaro and not BNP Paris Bas. The man behind the huge cocoa corner is Anthony Ward. Check out the story in the Daily Mail. In 2002 he made £40 million in two month by simply hoarding cocoa. I wonder how much he will make this time. Share:

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Did Sombody Say ‘Corner?’

Yesterday, I mentioned that the massive purchase of cocoa that took place yesterday in London reminded me of the attempts to corner commodities markets in the late 1800s. Today, the UK’s Telegraph makes it explicit. Citing unnamed experts, the paper reports that “it was very unlikely that a chocolate company,…

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A Funny Thing Happened on Thursday

Futures markets are basically places where people sell things they don’t have to people who don’t want them. In plain English, this means, traders just shuffle papers in the hopes of either averting price risk or making a profit. Positions are squared with opposite positions before the due date and…

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European Cocoa Companies Distrust Markets

A number of large European Cocoa companies have threatened to move their hedging business from LIFFE (London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange) to ICE (The former New York Board of Trade) unless LIFFE implements controls to limit speculative trades. Share:

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Divine, Kuapa Kokoo Support Ghana’s Sqad

Just in time for the quarterfinal match between Ghana and Uruguay, Divine Chocolate has placed an ad in Metro in support of the Black Stars against the South American Team. It’s a wonderful idea. Best wishes from Ghanian farmers to Ghanian players. See you in the semifinals. Share:

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Hershey Tries a Rap Video

This comes via a message from Melissa Schweisguth who’s working on corporate social responsibility and responsible sourcing. I let the video speak for itself. I’m not sure it will actually sell more Hershey chocolate. But it sure has novelty value. Share:

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Tomorrow is World Day Against Child Labor

Saturday is World Day Against Child Labor. Inaugurated by the International Labour Organization (ILO), this year’s day celebrates the tenth anniversary of the the adoption of ILO Convention 182, the Convention on the Worst Forms of Child Labour. The International Labor Rights Fund urges you to call Hershey and let…

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World’s Largest Chocolate Plant to Close

The Hershey company announced at the end of May that it will close its famous plant at 19 E. Chocolate Ave in Hershey, Pennsylvania. The plant, for one hundred and six years, the core of the Hershey chocolate empire, will be converted to administrative offices. About six hundred of the…

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Cargill Pays Premium

Cargill, the global food giant, joined the sustainability bandwagon in 2008 when the corporation joined the UTZ Certified Program for cocoa. In 2009, the first cooperatives in the Côte d’Ivoire had implemented the relevant codes of conduct and were certified by UTZ. Now, a year later, the first premium payments…

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Farmers Resist Official Advise

Many farmers in Ghana’s Central Region have refused to cut down their cocoa trees infected by swollen shoot disease. That despite the strong urging by political and scientific authorities  and sensitization workshops. Authorities consider the removal of infected trees the best method to keep the disease from spreading. So why…

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Cadbury to Open ‘Cocoa Houses’

Cadbury has announced plans to open a chain of Cocoa Houses in the UK.  The plan involves opening some 60 locations across the country over the next three to five years. The first one will open this year. Retail analysts consider this a smart move and a way for Cadbury,…

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BBC Panorama Documentary on Child Labor

The folks over at the International Labor Rights Fund have made the six part documentary available on their website. Check it out. Share:

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New Cocoa Agreement in the Works

Negotiations leading to the seventh International Cocoa Agreement (ICCA) got underway in Yaounde, Cameroon in late March. ICCAs are general agreements that are supposed to foster cooperation between producer and consumer countries, encourage sustainable cocoa farming and help  producer countries. Over the years, these agreements included market intervention mechanisms such…

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Guest Blogging at Trading Visions

Tom Allen of Trading Visions has put together a nice collection of blog posts on the intersection between childhood and chocolate. I’ve contributed an post on the record of the chocolate industry to address the issue of child labor in West Africa. Other posts include Amanda Berlan’s contribution on whose…

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Cocoa Prices – The Continuing Saga

The roller coaster of cocoa prices continues. Since the December 16 high of $3,636/ton, cocoa prices have dropped by almost $600/ton as measured by the ICCO Daily Price. There hasn’t been much in terms of news that might warrant this decline. Yes, production in the current year is higher than…

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Cadbury Announces Plans for first Social Premium Disbursement

Cadbury, the latest convert to fairtrade, announced on Monday its plans for disbursing the first installment of its social premium. The funds, £500,000 ($751,215), will be invested in projects determined by the farmer cooperatives that supply the cocoa. One of the beneficiaries, the Kuapa Kokoo cooperative, will use its share…

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Some Background on the Ivorian Crisis

When Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo dissolved that country’s government and electoral commission on February 12, he created the latest roadblock in the long and difficult road to elections. The outcome was predictable. The elections, already postponed six times to March 2010, now are even father off. Even more disturbing was…

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Sierra Leone Becomes Fairtrade Producer

Divine Chocolate, my favorite chocolate maker, has done it again. They have just ordered the  first fairtrade cocoa to come from the West African Country of Sierra Leone. Eight years after the end of its brutal civil war, with its economy still recovering, the farmers belonging to Kpeya Agricultural Enterprise…

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Invisible Hand Is Confused

For anyone believing in the power of markets to accurately predict the future, this week was a challenge. On Wednesday, Business Week reported that cocoa prices were dropping on “concerns supply will outpace demand.” Cocoa butter has been piling up in Europe with stocks reaching 50,000 tons. Inventories in NY…

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Green & Black’s Goes All Fairtrade

Green & Black’s has just announced that it will source all commodities from fairtrade suppliers. That’s wonderful news and a boost to fairtrade producers worldwide. In 1994, Green & Black’s introduced the first fairtrade chocolate bar, Maya Gold, to the UK and later to the world. The beans for that…

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Nestlé lusts after Hershey

It’s merger time in chocolate land. Now that Kraft has swallowed Cadbury, in effect outbidding the Hershey/Ferrero odd couple, Hershey itself is little more than an ant at the candy company picnic dominated by Mars/Wrigley, Kraft/Cadbury and Nestlé. And Nestlé feels a little piqued having been pushed to third place.…

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Graphs of the Cocoa Economy

I’ve just created a new page for various graphical representations of the global cocoa economy. Check it out. Just click the “Cocoa & Chocolate Graphs” in the sidebar to the right. Share:

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Kraft Swallows Cadbury [Updated]

Well, it is done, mostly. After opening its mouth a little wider than during its first attempt, Kraft is poised to swallow British chocolate maker Cadbury. Kraft had to increase its offer from 761p to 840p per share and add a 10p per share dividend. Last night, Cadbury’s chairman Roger…

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Chris Wheal’s take on Fairtrade Kit Kat

Check out Chris Wheal’s take on Nestlé’s decision to use fairtrade cocoa for a small part of its Kit Kat production. Share:

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Ghana Increases Producer Price Again

My first post in the new year reports some good news for Ghanaian cocoa farmers. On January 8, Ghana’s Cocoa Board increased producer prices from G¢2208 ($1,530) to G¢2400 (1,663) per ton. Share:

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A Child Labor Update

In late September, the Payson Center at Tulane University released its third annual oversight report on efforts to eliminate the worst forms of child labor (WFCL) in the cocoa sectors of Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire. Overall, the report takes a positive point of view. But hidden in various parts…

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UK’s Kit Kat to go Fairtrade

Nestlé, the global food giant, announced that, starting in 2010, its Kit Kat bar in the UK will be made with fairtrade chocolate. In doing so, Nestlé is following the example set by Cadbury earlier this year.  According to the BBC, Nestlé sells about 1 billion Kit Kats a year…

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The Sharks are Circling Cadbury

Ok, I’ve been rather quiet on the Cadbury story since it first broke some weeks ago. Here’s a quick recap. Kraft Foods made a  takeover bid for Cadbury offering some $17 billion for the British company. Cadbury was quick to reject the offer as too low and its CEO seemed…

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Ivorian Harvest Much Better Than Expected, So Far…

News of the decline of Ivorian cocoa production might be premature.  I have reported earlier that a consensus estimate put Ivorian output for the current cocoa year at 1-1.15 million tons, quite a bit below the 1.4 million tons the country had achieved only a few years ago. But that…

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More Bonuses for Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers

COCOBOD, the Ghanaian cocoa board, has announced another round of bonuses for cocoa farmers. This time, the total bonus amounts to GH¢25,369,862.50 ($17,887,263). That translates to $1.76 per bag of cocoa. As usual, the monies will be distributed to the 26 licensed buying companies which will then distribute funds to…

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Cameroon Farmers Hoard Cocoa, Get Higher Prices

Reuters reports that Cameroonian farmers have held back some of their cocoa from the market in order to push prices higher. As a result, prices have increased from CFAF1,150 ($2.66) per kilo in October to CFAF1,375 ($3,18) per kilo in November. Share:

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Indonesia Contemplates Export Tax on Cocoa

It’s the age old story that pits local processors against exporters. The Indonesian Cocoa Processing Association can’t get enough cocoa to keeps its members busy. Global demand (and global prices) are diverting local cocoa away from the processors. So they want 5 percent export tax on cocoa to provide an…

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Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to Cooperate on Cocoa Prices

The Ivorian President Gbagbo’s two-day visit to Ghana ended with a joint communique expressing the two countries’ resolve to influence international cocoa prices.  The communique pointed out that increases in production have not yielded comparative increases in revenue for the countries. It further criticized the impact of global commodity cartels…

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Kraft Likes Deal with Rainforest Alliance

Kraft, the global food giant, likes the deal it struck with the Rainforest Alliance. So much so, it expanded its commitment to purchase RA certified cocoa from 3,000 to 30,000 by 2012. It’s the first major food giant in Europe to carry the RA seal. That’s still a drop in…

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Cocoa Smuggling Continues in Ghana

Despite the COCOBOD’s announcement of higher producer prices, smuggling from Ghana to neighboring countries continues. Peace FM Online reports that an anti-cocoa-smuggling task force on the Ghana-Togo border has nabbed yet more smugglers. According to the local manager of the Produce Buying Company–one of the licensed buying agents in Ghana–500…

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Ghana Eyes Record Crop for 2009-10

Several reports quote cocoa traders in Ghana who predict a record crop in the current cocoa year. Ali Basma, managing director of Akuafo Adamfo Marketing Company, one of the largest cocoa buyers in the country, predicted that the crop could reach 800,000 tons this year. The head of the COCOBOD,…

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Nigerian Cocoa Production Also Down

Despite an uptick in August (deliveries ran 48% higher than for the same month a year earlier) overall cocoa production in Nigeria, the world’s fourth largest cocoa producer, was down for the last cocoa year. Total production for 2008-09 amounted to 156,320 tonnes according to a Bloomberg report. That’s over…

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Ivorian Cocoa Year Off to a Rocky Start

The 2009/10 cocoa year got off to a rocky start in the Côte d’Ivoire. Barely a couple of weeks into the new season, the Organization of Agricultural Producers, a union representing about a third of all cocoa cooperatives, launched a strike in protest against lacking government support. The overt reason…

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Cocoa and Climate Change

My post for Blog Action Day 2009 focuses the impact of traditional cocoa cultivation in climate change. Let me start with the concept of the forest rent. The term was first coined by French Agronomist François Ruf. Here’s what he found. Although a shade tree by origin, farmers found that…

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Ghana Cocoa Board Increases Producer Prices

Ghana’s Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor today announced the new cocoa producer price for the 2009-10 season. Farmers will receive GH¢2,208 ($1,511) per ton or GH¢138 ($94.50) per bag of cocoa. That’s a 35 percent increase over last year’s producer prices and about 71 percent of the FOB price of…

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Ghana Cocoa Production Up

Ghana defied expectations and increased production for the cocoa year that ended on September 30. Despite smuggling and initially low deliveries, total cocoa production reached 703,000 tons, according to a report by the Ghana Broadcasting Company. This is the first time that Ghana has surpassed 700,000 tons. Share:

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Côte d’Ivoire Production Reports for the Last Cocoa Year

The new cocoa year started on October 1st and its time to review some of the production data from the last cocoa year. Let’s start with the largest producer, the Côte d’Ivoire.  According to an item in Africa Report, the West African country had its worst production in five years.…

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Get Ready for Reverse Trick-or-Treating

Global Exchange, the International Labor Rights Fund, Equal Exchange, Alter Eco, Sweet Earth, La Siembra, Cocoa Zen and a host of other organizations are getting ready for the third annal reverse trick-or-treat campaign. The Reverse Trick-or-Treat campaign aims to educate consumers about poverty and child labor in the cocoa sector.…

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Ghana Secures $1.2bn for 2009-10 Cocoa Crop

Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) announced that it has secured a consortium loan of $1.2 billion to purchase cocoa in time for the 2009-10 cocoa year which starts October 1. That’s $200 million more than the amount borrowed for the current cocoa year (see my post last year). Ghana is one…

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ICCO and Markets Agree: Cocoa Might be in Short Supply

The International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) cut its forecasted surplus for the next cocoa year from 100,000 to 25,000-50,000 tons. In an interview along the sidelines of the ICCO meeting in London, the ICCO’s chief, Jan Vingerhoets, pointed out that the economic recession may be ending sooner than expected, leading to…

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Jamaica to Boost Cocoa Production

Jamaica is gearing up to boost its cocoa production dramatically. The Jamaican Information Service, reporting from a Jamaica Trade and Investment seminar, highlights a consultant’s assessment that the island has the infrastructure to handle 3,000 tons of cocoa, over six times the current output of 440 tons. Share:

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Mars UK Shrinks Galaxy Bar

Rising cocoa prices have taken another toll. Following the example set by Milton Hershey in the last century, Mars has decided to shrink the Galaxy Bar from 150g to 125g. I can’t imagine those bars containing enough cocoa to warrant that decision. As the Hershey experience has shown, you can…

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Guest Blogging at Divine

I’m quite honored that Divine Chocolate in the UK invited me to write a guest contribution for their blog. Share:

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Labor Department Releases List of Goods Made With Child Labor

The U.S Department of labor released its 2009 list of goods made with child and/or forced labor. As readers of this blog will suspect, cocoa is on the list. Five West African countries, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea and Nigeria are listed as exporters of cocoa produced with child labor.…

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Kraft Seeks to Expand Food Empire

Kraft Foods, the U.S. food products giant, has made a hostile bid to take over Cadbury Plc. after Cadbury’s board rejected a Kraft offer of £10.2 billion. Predictably, Cadbury’s share prices rose while Kraft’s fell as shareholders on the respective sides hope for a battle of bids. Kraft’s CEO implied…

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Cadbury Expands Fairtrade Commitment

According to Tim Newman’s blog entry at the International Labor Rights Forum, Cadbury has announced that it expand its sourcing of fairtrade cocoa beans. By 2010, all Dairy Milk bars sold in Canada, New Zealand and Australia will be fairtrade certified. That’s great news and a further sign of Cadbury’s…

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Kuapa Kokoo Holds 15th AGM

My favorite cocoa cooperative, the Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union in Ghana, just held its 15th annual general meeting. The AGM is the highest decision making body of the cooperative and many policies for the next year are set during the proceedings. Share:

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Hog Cycle at Work in India (and elsewhere)

A little item in the Economic Times of India shows yet again how market forces and agriculture don’t really work together very well. The article points out that due to the recent high prices for cocoa, cocoa cultivation has increased in India (I have reported on that earlier). The report…

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Cadbury’s Fair Trade Bar Makes Its Debut

After promising to source fairtrade beans for its  flagship Dairy Milk bar, Cadbury made good. On July 21, the first Fairtrade Dairy Milk bars started coming off the production line in Bourneville. Within days, these bars will appear in shops all over the UK and Ireland. It’s the first time…

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Lateral Cocoa Trade

Here’s a bit of trade news that usually falls by the way side. After opening the border between Liberia and the Côte d’Ivoire, cocoa farmers in Liberia have discovered that they can get more money selling their crop to Ivorian dealers. The difference is significant–$2.50/kilo instead of $1.00/kilo in their…

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Chocolate Consumption Continues Decline

The recession is still taking its toll on chocolate consumption. Second quarter reports from around the world indicate that cocoa grindings, a key indicator of chocolate production, continue to decline. Share:

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What’ll They Come Up With Next?

Barry Callebaut, the largest chocolate maker in the world, has announced the development of the “Volcano” chocolate bar. Supposedly, this bar is low in calories and does not melt at temperatures below 131º Fahrenheit (or 55º Celsius). Ordinary chocolate starts melting around 90º Fahrenheit. Share:

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It’s (Social) Capitalism … Stupid

An item in AlterNet caught my eye. Ari LeVaux shows how the new corporate parent of Silk Soy Milk has basically dropped American Soy Bean farmers as suppliers and now purchases most of its soybeans in China. The ultimatum to American farmers was: meet the Chinese price or else. This…

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El Niño Follow-up

According to the ICCO, Indonesia’s cocoa production for the current year will be even smaller than previously predicted. In  February, the organization predicted a total production of 510,000 tons. Now the estimate cited numbers “well below 500,000 tons.” Share:

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El Niño and Chocolate

Cocoa news just keeps getting worse. After a less than stellar production for the main season in Africa, several predictions claim that future output will also be lower than expected. Share:

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Divine Animation

Here’s a sweet little animation from my favorite chocolate maker. Share:

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Sustainability … It’s The Latest Thing

Blommer Chocolate Company is the latest manufacturer to jump on the sustainability bandwagon. If the name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re probably not alone. Blommer, like Wilbur Chocolate and Peter’s Chocolate (both now part of Cargill) are bulk chocolate manufacturers who sell their product to other manufacturers, chocolatiers, bakers, etc.…

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The Age Question … Again

I’ve written before about the aging population of cocoa farmers, particularly in Africa where most cocoa is grown. The farmers I met in Ghana all told me that young people rather go to the cities than stay on the cocoa farm. Now a report from Nigeria’s Oyo State confirms this…

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The State of Child Labor in Ghana

The International Cocoa Initiative has announced an independent evaluation of its activities in Ghana. According to the press release, the areas in which the ICI has been active have seen a reduction of the exposure of children to the worst forms of child labor. In addition, the foundation reports that…

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Today is World Day Against Child Labor

We are less than a week away from the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the International Labor Organization’s Convention 182–CONVENTION CONCERNING THE PROHIBITION AND IMMEDIATE ACTION FOR THE ELIMINATION OF THE WORST FORMS OF CHILD LABOUR. That convention codified in unmistakable terms what kind of work is impermissible for…

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India to be Cocoa Exporter?

I have mentioned before that the Westernization of the tastes of the Indian middle classes is part of the great hope of the chocolate industry. Much of the sustainability talk that is making the rounds these days is driven by the desire to produce enough cocoa at reasonable prices to…

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Chocolate Apparently Not Recession-Proof After All

Quite a few reports recently claimed that chocolate is recession-proof. It made sense, sort of. When everything else is going down the tube, there’s always chocolate–a little treat in hard times and not too expensive. But it it turned out to be just hearsay. Share:

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Motion Graph of Cocoa Production Data

Here’s a graph I constructed using Google’s Motion Graph gadget. It displays the changing production data for the fifteen largest cocoa producers between 1964/65 and 2002/03. The data was compiled by the Cocoa Producers Alliance and I downloaded that information a couple of years back. Unfortunately, the CPA no longer…

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Trading Visions Posts Q&A on Mars and Cadbury

Why did Mars and Cadbury recently decided to seek third-party verification for some or all of their chocolate products? Trading Visions, a UK web site devoted to increasing information and education about fairtrade, wanted to find out. They contacted both Mars and Cadbury and number organizations to provide their answers…

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Wonderful Reuters Report on Kuapa Kokoo and Fairtrade

Here’s a Reuters report on Kuapa Kokoo and the impact of the recent announcement by Cadbury to source fairtrade beans for its Dairy Milk Bar. Share:

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Rubber for Cocoa?

According to a report in Agence France Press, an increasing number of farmers in the Côte d’Ivoire are abandoning cocoa farming in favor or growing rubber trees. If that trend is indeed as widespread as the article claims–hundreds of hectares every year–then this important news. Share:

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Established Cocoa Markets also Fall

I mentioned earlier that the emerging chocolate markets didn’t quite live up to their predicted potential. But the traditioal markets aren’t doing so well either. The German Candy Manufacturers Association (Bundesverband der Deutschen Süßwarenindustrie) released first quarter grindings numbers that showed a 17.2 percent decline to 87,576 tons compared to…

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Fairtrade Social Premium

I’ve mentioned the social premium aspect of fairtrade in previous posts. I consider that at least as important as the guaranteed price, the other leg of the fairtrade system. My visit to the Toledo Cocoa Growers Association, though, taught me that there are different ways to distribute that social premium.…

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Tooting my own horn

My article on cocoa growers in Belize was just published by my local paper, the Ashland Daily Tidings. Share:

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IMF Removes Conditionality

Here’s a bit of news I never thought I’d see. According to a report on AllAfrica, the IMF has adopted a new framework for lending that removes the hated conditionality. Starting May 1, 2009,  countries who are drawing on IMF resources will no longer have to apply for a formal…

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Mars Commits to Sustainability … Sort Of

I’ve taken a little time with this post to process some older information I had. But here it is: Mars has committed to sourcing sustainable cocoa. According the company’s press release, Mars is “aiming to certify its entire cocoa supply as being produced in a sustainable manner, by 2020.” The…

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Emerging Markets Seem A Bit Reluctant

India and China are to the chocolate industry what emerging markets were to the financial speculators of the late 1990s. A promise of untold riches to any company that got its feet into the door. The new middle classes, so the theory went, are eager to adopt western tastes and,…

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At the San Antonio Buying Depot

The Toledo Cocoa Growers Association (TCGA) maintains three buying depots. One at its headquarters in Punta Gorda, one in San Antonio and one in Mayamopan. Each depot received beans that have been fermented and dried. The TCGA specs are straightforward–box fermentation for six days with bean turn-over every two days…

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The Toledo Cocoa Growers Association

I’m finally back from a wonderful visit to the Toledo Cocoa Growers Association (TCGA) in Punta Gorda, Belize. The name may not say much to most chocolate lovers, but it this cooperative that provides the beans for Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate bar. It was one of the earliest…

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Cocoa Processing Accelerates in Ghana

The Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) of Ghana posted a large increase in revenue. According to an article in the UK’s Guardian, the CPC will increase its revenue fivefold from $42.5 million to $208 million. CPC’s director Richard Amarh Tetteh indicated that total tonnage processed will amount to 64,500 tons for…

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Ghana to Borrow $1.2 billion for Next Season’s Crop

Bloomberg News reported today that Ghana’s COCOBOD will seek a $1.2 billion loan to finance the cocoa purchase for the next season. That amount represents a 20% increase over the amount secured for the current season. Clearly, the COCOBOD is optimistic that Ghanian farmers will reach their production goal for…

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Dairy Milk Chocolate to go Fairtrade

Cadbury, the British chocolate maker, has announced that it will pursue fairtrade certification for Dairy Milk, its best-selling chocolate bar. Cadbury and the Fairtrade Foundation, the British arm of the the global fairtrade movement announced yesterday that the certification will be achieved by the Summer of 2009. Share:

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Cocoa Grindings to Fall by 3 Percent this Year

According to an item in Marketwatch, Fortis Bank reports that world cocoa grindings will decline by 3 percent in 2009. Cocoa grindings, as I explained in another post, are a good indicator of future cocoa demand. Coupled with reports that cocoa deliveries in West Africa are improving, that news has…

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The Gates Foundation Discovers Cocoa Farmers

With much fanfare, many news outlets announced the decision by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to donate $23 million to the World Cocoa Foundation. The usual supporters of the WCF have pledged to chip in a similar amount in the form of cash and in-kind contributions bringing the total…

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ILRF Begins a New Chocolate Campaign

The International Labor Rights Fund began a new letter writing campaign to protest the use of child labor in the cocoa sector. The letters ask the CEOs of Hershey, Mars and Nestlé about their concrete efforts to limit the use of child labor on cocoa farms in West Africa. The…

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Ivorian Farmers Block Cocoa Deliveries Again

I reported last fall that Ivorian farmers, upset over the fact that traders were not paying them the indicative price set by the Cocoa Management Committee, had blocked cocoa deliveries to ports. Now they are threatening a blockade again, this time to protest the fact that they have not received…

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Make it a Fair Trade Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is around the corner and it’s the day (though by no means the only one) to buy chocolate and flowers for your sweetie. How about making it a fair trade Valentine’s Day. It’s easy and you know that you will be supporting farmers who have organized to escape…

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Ancient Cocoa Traces Found at Chaco Canyon, NM

Theobromine, the key component of cocoa that gives us that little boost when we eat our favorite chocolate, also stays around a while. A long while, to be exact. So when ancient peoples didn’t wash their dishes well, some traces  of theobromine stayed behind and, thousands of years later, we…

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Hershey to Close Scharffen Berger Plant in Berkeley

The Hershey company announced that it will close the Scharffen Berger plant in West-Berkeley as well as the Joseph Schmidt in San Francisco to consolidate production in other facilities. Hershey acquired both companies in 2005 to set up their premium chocolate subsidiary Artisan Confections. Later they also acquired Dagoba in…

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On Science, Agriculture and Progress, Part 3

On to the final part of my response–the role of science. Both comments advanced a view of science as the savior of poor African farmers. I beg to differ. But let me first clarify. I’m not opposed to science. I understand that science has brought about important breakthroughs in agriculture.…

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On Science, Agriculture and Progress, Part 2

In my last post I challenged the “ceteris paribus” thinking of the two critical comments. Here, I’d like to focus on the larger historical context. Take the closing sentence of the second comment: “Enough is enough! Give African farmers the tools and knowledge they need to lift themselves out of…

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On Science, Agriculture and Progress, Part 1

My recent post on the silences of the Sustainability Principles announced by the World Cocoa Foundation elicited two comments from some rather high-powered sources. First came a comment from someone at the Sustainable Tree Crops Program which is actively engaged in training cocoa farmers through its farmer field schools and…

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Concentration of the Chocolate Industry Continues

Several news outlets reported today that ADM, one of the largest commodity brokers in the world, has acquired Germany’s Schokinag, one of the largest European makers of chocolate and cocoa powder. “This acquisition will be an excellent fit for our business as we continue to enhance our global presence across…

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ICCO Predicts Cocoa Shortfall

The executive director of the International Cocoa Organization (ICCO) indicated on Monday that the 2008/09 cocoa season will yield less cocoa than previously thought. Despite a predicted decline in demand as a result of the global economic crisis, Jan Vingerhoets told Reuters that he expects a shortfall of about 45,000…

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World Cocoa Foundation Announces Sustainability Principles

The World Cocoa Foundation, an entity created by the chocolate industry and cocoa trading companies, announced today its sustainability principles and goals. The foundation was created in 2000 to address farming practices in cocoa producing countries. But I can’t shake the suspicion that its creation was also part of the…

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Speculation and Commodity Prices

Last night, CBS’s Sixty Minutes broadcast an investigation into the wild swings of the oil prices last year rising to $147/barrel and then falling to less than $40/barrel in a short period of time. The report offers some prime evidence that investment and hedge funds were the primary movers behind…

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Côte d’Ivoire Elections will be delayed again

Just as Ghana celebrated its second real transition of power to President John Atta Mills, its neighbor, the Côte d’Ivoire, continues to struggle with preparations for the long delayed election. The country has yet to settle the divisions that caused the 2002-03 civil war and despite the support of the…

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Ghana inaugurates New President

The world’s second largest cocoa producing country yesterday celebrated the inauguration of its new president, John Atta Mills. The event marked the end of the John Kufuor’s presidency which lasted two four-year terms. The initial election last December ended inconclusive since neither Mills nor his opponent Akufo-Addo received the necessary…

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Cocoa Prices Hit 23-Year High in London

Several news sources reported that cocoa futures hit a 23-year high in London yesterday with a price of £1,824.33/ton. However, the U.S. price stayed more moderate with a price of $2,666/ton, quite a bit below the July high above $3,000/ton. The reason for this discrepancy lies in the appreciation of…

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Cocoa Deliveries Continue to Lag in West Africa

Global cocoa prices seem to be on an upswing after riding the speculative roller coaster up and down earlier this year. The New York closed for March cocoa reached $2,610/ton, a new high after falling as low as $2,080 in November.  This time around, though, that increase seems to have…

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Where is Cocoa Processed?

I’ve written earlier about a new cocoa processing plant being opened in Ghana. Processing refers to roasting, winnowing, cracking and grinding the cocoa beans. It also can include pressing the cocoa to extract cocoa butter and produce cocoa powder. To the left is a breakdown of the top ten cocoa…

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Some Background on Cocoa Pests and Diseases

Throughout the blog, I have mentioned the fickle nature of the cocoa tree. It is prone to diseases and a ready target for various pests. These become especially pronounced when the trees age and when farms are replanted. Many of the articles I cite as sources for my posts also…

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Pre-oil Boom In Ghana’s Takoradi Port

Takoradi, the port city halfway between Ghana’s capital Accra and the Ivorian capital of Abidjan is buzzing with lots of new activity. And no, it’s not the planned boom in cocoa exports–Ghana is planning to reach cocoa exports of 1 million tons by 2010/11–it’s the expectation of an oil boom…

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More News from the Côte d’Ivoire

The cocoa embargo initiated by Ivoirian farmers (see my earlier post) has come to an end. The action itself probably did not push traders and exporters to pay farmers the suggested minimum farm gate price, but the action has certainly slowed down the delivery of cocoa to Ivoirian ports. Share:

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The Global Market for Premium Chocolate

The international market research firm Research and Markets has released a new report on the future of the global market for premium chocolate. The report points out that the market for said chocolate amounts to almost $7 billion. That size reflects a 65 percent increase since 2002, quite a steep…

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Ten Years of Divine Chocolate

Divine Chocolate celebrates its tenth anniversary with a four day exhibit of photographs at the gallery at Oxo Tower Wharf in London. Check out a preview of the photographs. Ten years are a remarkable achievement and I’m excited to add my congratulations. Since its humble beginnings as a project conjured…

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Cargill Opens New Cocoa Processing Plant in Ghana

Several news sources reported the opening of a new cocoa processing plant in Tema, Ghana. The Cargill plant will process about 65,000 tons of cocoa beans annually to produce chocolate liquor, cocoa powder and cocoa butter. Ghana’s president Kufuor presided over the inauguration giving an indication of the significance the…

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Child Labor Update

Last week, the Payson Center of Tulane University published its second annual report evaluating public and private initiatives to combat the worst forms of child labor in the cocoa sectors of Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire. These reports are produced under a contract with the U.S. Department of Labor. The…

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And now for something completely different …

I’ve gotten used to the idea that people will mix chocolate with just about anything edible. Part of that is human curiosity, another part is the desire to come up with yet another new thing that can stand out in an ever more crowded market. But the news of the…

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Cocoa Farmers block Cocoa Delivery in the Côte d’Ivoire

I reported a couple of weeks ago that the new management committee for the cocoa sector in the Côte d’Ivoire set a new indicative price of CFA700 ($1.48) per kilogram for the 2008/09 cocoa season. That represented a forty percent increase over the indicative price of the previous season. I…

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Fair Trade Counters Poverty

As my contribution to Blog Action Day 2008, I’d like to advocate for fair trade as an effective anti-poverty strategy. Not only does fair trade provide a price floor for farmers and workers who produce the raw materials for many products we consume, it also, and that makes it different…

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First Signs of Reform in the Côte D’Ivoire

Last week, the committee that has taken over the management of the cocoa sector in the Côte d’Ivoire took a first step toward reform. The committee decided to lower the one of the cocoa levies from CFA25.26 to CFA 10.06 per kilo. The proceeds of that levy were used to…

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October is Fair Trade Month!

I almost forgot to write this post. October is Fair Trade Month. It is an important reminder to consider fair trade purchases whenever possible. Not just during this month, but always. Having just returned from Europe, I was again astonished how much more prevalent fair trade products are in ordinary…

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Côte d’Ivoire Increases Cocoa Farm Gate Price

The 2008/09 Ivorian cocoa season began five days late due to the reform efforts that are to weed out the corruption in the cocoa sector. The management committee that now runs the key cocoa sector institutions opened the season on Sunday and also set a new indicative farm gate price…

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New Research Upsets Old Cocoa Classification

New research published in the journal PLoS One (Public Library of Science), reveals that there is far more genetic diversity in cocoa trees than hitherto assumed. Anyone interested in cocoa and chocolate has know for a long time that there are three varieties: criollo, forastero and trinitario. The names date…

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Reverse Trick-or-Treat Campaign starts again

For the second year in a row, a number of organizations concerned about the fate of children in the cocoa sector around the world are pooling their resources for a reverse trick-or-treat campaign on Halloween. The campaign is indented to educate consumers about the labor conditions in the cocoa sector…

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Côte d’Ivoire begins Cocoa Sector Cleanup

Readers of this blog will remember my earlier post on the corruption in the Ivorian cocoa sector. Well documented in Carol Off’s book, the key institutions put in place after the 2000 liberalization of the cocoa sector (the BCC – Bourse du Café et du Cacao, the FDPCC – Fonds…

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Divine Chocolate Wins at Chicago Luxury Chocolate Salon

My favorite fair trade chocolate, Divine, won big at the 2008 Chicago Luxury Chocolate Salon. According to the event’s website, Divine won the following awards: best milk chocolate, best dark chocolate bar, best fair trade bar and best flavored chocolate bar. That’s great news and will help Divine become a…

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Robert Steinberg dies

This seems to be the week to report on the deaths of chocolate makers. I just heard that Robert Steinberg, founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolates, died of cancer last week . Those interested in good chocolate know, of course, that Scharffen Berger was among the first endeavors to bring good…

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Klaus Jacobs dies

Growing up in Germany, my favorite chocolate bar was Suchard Milka, either in the milk chocolate, the chocolate-hazelnut, or the noisette flavor. Birthdays and visits of relatives were always occasions to get a new stash of Suchard. But these did not last very long. The first bar usually disappeared within…

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Cocoa Prices in Perspective

The recent increases in cocoa prices–the thirty year high in July for example–mask what has been, in effect, a secular decline in cocoa prices adjusted for inflation. Author Thomas Lines finally put numbers to something I’ve known for some time. When observers speak of all time high cocoa prices, they…

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Price of Chocolate to Rise

The CEO of Barry Callebaut announced that chocolate prices will rise between 15 and 18 percent. Reuters reports that Patrick de Maeseneire told the Handelszeitung in Switzerland that raw materials contribute about 25 percent to the total price of a 100 gram chocolate bar and that cocoa, in turn, represents…

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Higher Prices for Ghana’s Cocoa farmers

Reuters reported today that Ghana’s Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has decided to increase the farm gate price for the next cocoa year from 1,200 cedis ($1,090) to 1,632 cedis ($1,384) per ton. This is welcome news for cocoa farmers all over Ghana who have been complaining about the low prices offered…

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Ghana Secures Financing for 2008/09 Cocoa Season

The Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) has just signed a $1 billion financing deal with a syndicate of international banks to finance cocoa buying for the 2008/09 cocoa season. The bank consortium includes both European and  Japanese banks and is believed to be the largest soft commodity financing deal ever. Readers…

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Shrinking Foods

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote here that Hershey’s price increases might be accompanied by another strategy to pass higher prices on to consumers–decreasing the weight of the product. And, lo and behold, here’s the confirmation. Yesterday, the International Herald Tribune published an article highlighting the shrinking food weights…

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Indonesia Follow-up

The International Cocoa Organization just issued a report decreasing Indonesia’s prospective cocoa harvest for 2007/08 by 90,000 tons. Indonesia exported 530,000 tons of cocoa during for 2006/07 and the ICCO had projected exports to reach 570,000 tons this season.The current export volume is estimated to reach 480,000 tons. Share:

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Hedging Increases in the Food Industry

A couple of days ago, the Financial Times reported that Hershey is the latest in of a long string of food processors that will divert an increasing amount of their financial resources in commodity market hedging against future price increases. Share:

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Hershey raises Prices

The increases in commodity prices have had their effects on many consumer products and, given the rally in cocoa prices, it was only a question of time before chocolate prices would follow suit. Last week Hershey announced that it would increase candy bar prices by 11%. Share:

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Chocolate from Fiji?

File this under “Who knew?” Several Fijian news outlets reported that the cocoa sector there will get a boost in the next governmental budget and that a cocoa growers cooperative may actually begin to manufacture chocolate there. Share:

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Indonesia’s Cocoa Problems

Since 1980 Indonesia, and specifically its Sulawesi province, has emerged as a major cocoa producer in the world. Starting from inauspicious beginnings, Sulawesi represents on of the successes of the chocolate industry’s diversification strategy. Total production increased from only 12,400 tons in 1979/80 to a predicted harvest of 480,000 tons…

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Another African Chocolate Producer

I just read that the South African company Chocolates by Tomes will begin making their own chocolate exclusively from African ingredients. According to an article at iAfrica.com, the company had previously imported its chocolate from Barry Callebaut but decided to begin its own production using cocoa from Ghana and the…

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The Luxury Chocolate Market

A couple of weeks ago a number of news sources reported the arrival of the £5,000 box of chocolates at Harrods in London–that’s almost $10,000 for 49 chocolates hand-wrapped and placed in suede leather, partitioned with gold and platinum. Lebanese chocolatier Patchi is said to have used “the finest grown…

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We Need A New International Cocoa Agreement

What goes up must come down. The old trading adage certainly applied to cocoa this summer. After reaching $3,290/ton on July 1, the futures price dropped to $2,801/ton by July 28. That’s a drop of almost $500 in a month. Nobody can explain such a decline with changes in supply…

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Sustainable Cocoa

There has been a lot of debate lately over the sustainability of cocoa production. On July 7, CNN.com posted a report that started with the following quote by John Mason of the Nature Conservation Research Council: “I think that in 20 years chocolate will be like caviar.” The report goes…

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Oldest Chocolate Found

An analysis of two vessels unearthed in Central Mexico has shown conclusively that chocolate (the drink) was consumed as early as 1900BCE by the Mokaya People in the Soconusco area of what is today the Mexican State of Chiapas. Share:

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My Anti Anti-Fairtrade Rant

Today, Sameh El-Shahat (I assume a columnist at the UK’s Telegraph) published a rant against fairtrade. I guess, the paper tries to make hay by attacking “holy cows.” Below is the reply I posted in the paper’s comment section. Share:

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Bonuses for Cocoa Farmers in Ghana

Over the past week, several sources reported that the Ghanian Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) released a second round of bonuses to cocoa farmers. According to the Joy Online, a total of GH¢16,035,161.35 (about $16.45 million) will be released to the Licensed Buying Companies for distribution to individual farmers. The amount translates…

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New EU Directive on Pesticides

A new European Union directive on the minimum residue levels (MRL) of pesticides on cocoa beans takes effect on September 1, 2008. Starting that date, cocoa beans that surpass that level will be rejected. Cocoa farmers who use pesticides (and that is the vast majority in the world) will have…

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The Largest Chocolate Maker You Never Heard Of

Yesterday, Barry Callebaut released its sales figures for the first nine months of the current fiscal year. By all measures, it was a successful period. Sales volume amounted to 872993 metric tonnes of chocolate, a growth rate of 10 percent which the company claims is three times the growth rate…

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“Cioccolato Puro” in Court

Here’s another chapter in the label wars. In the U.S., we know all about industry power when it comes to food labels – GMO food is not labeled, country of origin is usually not on the label but dairies that don’t process milk from cows treated with rGBH have to…

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Mars to Sequence Cocoa Genome

The news outlets today were all in a tizzy about the announcement by Mars, the USDA and IBM of a five year project to sequence and analyze the cocoa genome. Many of these articles started out with the line “To save chocolate lovers from the agony of a potential candy…

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Divine Chocolate Wins Ethical Business Award

“I want to change the world with chocolate and doing with chocolate that’s great makes it easier..” That’s what Sophie Tranchell, managing director of Divine Chocolate, told me a year ago during an interview for my book on cocoa and chocolate. It seems she’s well on her way. A couple…

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A Cocoa Clean-up in the Côte d’Ivoire?

Last week several news outlets (Agence France Press and Bloomberg, among others) reported that 23 officials related to the cocoa sector in the Côte d’Ivoire had been arrested on charges of fraud and corruption. Among the individuals arrested was Lucien Tape Do, the head of the Bourse du Café et…

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A Sad Day for the Children of Cocoa Farmers

I am very disappointed but I should have expected it. Yesterday, in a joint statement with the Chocolate Industry, Senator Harkin and Congressman Engel basically ratified the very limited efforts of the industry to combat child labor in the cocoa sector. So, for all practical purposes, the crucial part of…

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Are Speculators the Problem?

Last Friday, the New York Times reported that the increase in commodity prices and the resulting increase in prices ordinary consumers pay has attracted the attention of regulators and politicians. The specific target are speculators who are suspected of having driven up futures prices. The article goes on to repeat…

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A Cocoa Comeback in Latin America

Cocoa from Latin America is making a comeback, at least according to a report in Confectionary News. It is often forgotten that Latin American cocoa dominated the world market until the early years of the twentieth century. After the Spanish colonizers brought cocoa to Spain and from there is quickly…

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Speculation and Cocoa Prices – again

Almost six months ago, I wrote about the potential impact of investment funds flowing into the commodity markets. Commodity markets used to be the realm of those who knew what they were doing. Traders became experts in one particular commodity and used that expertise to make a profit. But then…

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Child Labor in West Africa: Roads not taken – Part 2

The emergence of the child labor issue in West African cocoa economies coincided with the historical low of cocoa prices at the end of the 1990s. While there are other factors that contribute to child labor, poverty is a significant part of the problem. Yes, there are cultural predispositions, but…

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Child Labor in West Africa: Roads not taken – Part 1

This is the first of two posts that address what could have been done regarding child labor in West Africa. The first covers the efforts of the International Labor Organization’s International Program on the Elimination of Child Labour.  In 1999, the ILO convention on the Elimination of the Worst Forms…

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The Harkin-Engel Protocol – Part 3

In yesterday’s post, I outlined how the industry has adopted a definition of certification that flies in the face of the common sense meaning of the term. Certification, as I understand it, involves developing a standard and then measuring the production processes against that standard. If processes do not meet…

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The Harkin-Engel Protocol – Part 2

Yesterday, I reported that the situation regarding child labor in West Africa does not seem to have improved much since 2001 if we look at the initial surveys conducted in Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire. Today, I’d like to focus on what the industry has done so far to address…

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The Harkin-Engel Protocol – Part 1

The most important component of the 2001 Harkin-Engel protocol was the requirement that the industry develop “credible, mutually acceptable, voluntary, industry-wide standards of public certification, consistent with applicable federal law, that cocoa beans and their derivative products have been grown and/or processed without any of the worst forms of child labor” by July 2005.

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Kuapa Kokoo Flows

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Cellphones and Economic Development

Ghana, like most countries in the global South, has a large and vibrant “informal sector,” that is, a sector where people–often for lack of formal employment–buy and sell thinks to make a living. Walking down Barnes Road towards the ocean, and then cutting over to Kwame Nkrumah Ave via Kimbu…

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Radio Interview on Cocoa and Child Labor

On March 31, Wes Brain, who hosts a daily show on labor issues on KSKQ, the low power community FM station in Ashland, asked me about cocoa, fair trade and child labor. Have a listen. Share:

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Kuapa Kokoo Internal Structure

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On the trail of cocoa in Ghana

I spoke with Mr. Kofi Nimako, the operations manager and Mr. Kwame Owusu, the finance manager of Kuapa Kokoo, Ltd. (KKL), the licensed buying company that forms the commercial arm of the Kuapa Kokoo Farmer’s Union. The system of private licensed buying agents was developed as part of the liberalization projects of the early 1990s (1993). As a matter of fact, KKL came into being as a reaction to this process. There are around 30 licensed buying companies in Ghana but the number fluctuates as new ones emerge while others disappear. KKL is the only cooperative-owned company.

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The Basics of Kuapa Kokoo

The Kuapa Kokoo Farmers Union (KKFU) is a cooperative organization for cocoa farmers in Ghana. Its origin lies in the liberalization of the internal cocoa trade implemented by the government of Ghana in the early 1990s. Its founder, Nana Frimpong Abebrese, had represented cocoa farmers at the Cocoa Marketing Board…

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My Visit to Kuapa Kokoo in Ghana

I’ve been offline for a while because I had the opportunity to visit my favorite cocoa growers cooperative - Kuapa Kokoo – in Kumasi, Ghana. There is lots to report and I will post various bits and pieces here in the coming days. The trip was an amazing experience and the reception…

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Hershey Net Profit Down 65%

These are bad days for Hershey. As Bloomberg reports, the company’s fourth quarter was dreadful. It lost market share to Mars and faces higher cocoa and milk prices. The forecast for 2008 is not promising either.I’ve always wondered about the appeal of the Hershey bar. Growing up in Germany, I did not…

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Nigeria and the EU

Once upon a time, the European Union dealt with its former colonies (the so-called ACP [African Caribbean Pacific] countries) through the mechanism of the four Lomé Agreements. These provided for non-reciprocal trade relations. The ACP countries were given duty-free access to EU markets (with important exceptions), but they did not have to offer…

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More Speculation in Cocoa

In my post six days ago, I mentioned the fact that investment funds may be one of the reasons why cocoa prices have been higher over the past year. Just two days ago, the Guardian reported the same development. An unnamed U.S. trader is quoted as saying: “The weight of…

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Will cocoa prices keep going up?

One of the points often ignored in the whole debate about child labor in West Africa is the fact that cocoa prices were at an all time low just when the first reports of child slavery emerged in the Western press. According to IMF price data, the average price in…

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Côte d’Ivoire on track to meet July 1 deadline?

Today, Reuters South Africa reports that the Côte d’Ivoire is set to meet the July 1 deadline to certify that its cocoa beans are produced without the worst forms of child labor. Behind the headlines, though, things look a little bleaker.

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U.S. Lawmakers visit Côte d’Ivoire to check progress on child labor

Tom Harkin and Elliot Engel who crafted the voluntary child labor protocol in 2001 are visiting the Côte d’Ivoire to get a first hand look at progress made to eliminate the worst forms of child labor there. They are unlikely to find much. The 2005 deadline in the original protocol passed without any measurable progress.

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