Leben, und Arbeiten: Cocoa – The People Behind the Expensive Chocolate Bars

The explanation below is taken from the picture. If you manage to zoom in the picture, you might be able to read the explanation there.  I state my opinions on the “new” paragraph

Nowadays the number of cocoa farmers worldwide is estimated at between 5 and 6 million. However the number of people who are dependent on cocoa cultivation is far higher- It is estimated at between 40 and 50 million.

———– Are we among those who are dependent on cocoa plantation? I have never visited cocoa plantations yet, but someday I hope. The gap in numbers between the workers and those who are dependent on cocoa is way too much, I guess.

The living and working conditions of those cultivating cocoa differs greatly from region to region, and country to country. In addition to this, cocoa is cultivated either on large plantations or in smallholdings. Wage workers who often work in bonus system for low wages are employed on the major cocoa plantations.Fathers, mothers, and children are till the fields in order to earn maximum bonuses. The working conditions are poor, and the unprotected use of insecticides  and pesticides is commonplace.

———— Working in bonus system! hmm, that must be difficult. The minimum wage of Indonesia is low as well, around Rp. 1,000.000. I am not sure how low the wages of the cocoa workers are. I just can’t imagine the whole members of the family, even the little ones have to “feed” 40 million people who are dependent on cocoa. I am a fan of chocolate myself, and this information on the Schokolade ( Chocolate) Museum we went to in Cologne, Germany, has made me enjoy my chocolate bars in a different way, and feeling.

In addition to cocoa cultivation, those running small-holdings have the opportunity to cultivate plants for their own use. The supply of basic food is thus guaranteed. However the work is exhausting, and the income is low.Many farmers depend on their children’s assistance to get by.

—————-Some people here depend their lives on growing crops; like casava. In the areas where casava is planted by most villagers, they often plants for their own use. If only life were free, and one could get anything without money, then perhaps they would  mind having casava as their supply of basic food. I often watch their lives on a screen; they say “We eat casava nearly every day, we get bored sometimes, but  we don’t want to eat them all. We sell them to the market, and we get money.”

In general, those who cultivate and harvest the cocoa never have the opportunity to enjoy the end product the bar of chocolate.Experts estimate that approximately 75 % of cocoa farmers and their families have never tried a piece of chocolate.

———— I was a bit surprised when I read this. Before I read this, I had had completely different thoughts of how cocoa was planted, or produced. I thought the people who cultivate, and harvest cocoa would be given bars of chocolate, say, every month. This is kinda sad! cocoa farmers have never tried a piece of chocolate. Perhaps, they are happy with the way they live. Perhaps they are even bored with the aroma of cocoa already.

Cocoa farmers, and cocoa plantation workers, and their families are often amongst the poorest population groups in their native countries. They live in simple dwellings, usually without running water, and electricity. Schools, and hospitals are often far away, and hygienic conditions are catastrophic.

—————–Because rich people don’t want to work in cocoa plantations? too exhausting? I don’t know. I was a bit surprised when I saw the picture on this information board. I mean, I had never known before, the people behind the great taste of chocolate bars I sometimes taste. I had never imagined before, that behind the expensive bars of chocolate, there are people who are struggling so hard to raise their standard of living, I mean really in great efforts, perhaps more than I have ever thought of.

Enjoy your bars of chocolate!

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2 responses to “Leben, und Arbeiten: Cocoa – The People Behind the Expensive Chocolate Bars

  1. Hey Lulu, I love chocolate! Especially Belgian.

    It is sad when workers are exploited. How much worse is it when they’re exploited for luxury items for rich people to enjoy?

    And 75% of cocoa farmers have never tried chocolate? Das ist unglaublich!!!

  2. I shall try more of chocolate! in a way I help them get the bonus system??? but luckily I also love Schokolade!
    Yes, I was a bit shocked when I read this info!
    and Hmm…. I wasn’t sure what I was thinking at that time, but I guess it was pretty ironic!

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