Is there such a thing as GREAT Fair Trade chocolate?
Posted in: Opinion
Your lack of sympathy for, and understanding of poor cash crop farmers (and what motivates them) seems as limited as your lack of understanding of what Fair Trade is and why it exists, (and what can be achieved with "bulk" forastero cocoa).
Some of the best cocoa I have ever tasted (properly fermented and dried, with strong chocolate aroma and other flavour notes) is forastero cocoa produced by isolated, uneducated South Pacific farmers. Those people are literally forced to accept low prices for their cocoa (because the buyers work together to keep the price to growers down) despite its high quality.
So to say that poor grows who seek Fair Trade certification:
"try the argument of "look I am poor, I should make some more money""
... is arrogant and wrong and neatly deflects responsibility for the problem (their poverty) from the people who actually cause it (that is us in the developed nations of the world).
What Fair Trade is actually saying is: "These people deserve to get a living wage for the work that they do and it is our responsibility to pay ".
It's also wrong to say that Fair Trade (with all of its acknowledged flaws) just trades off the story of poverty. Fair Trade is meant to be a safety net for poor people that prevents exploitation. It's not intended to be a driver of quality, or quantity of product. How first world manufacturers choose to use the Fair Trade story of their product has nothing do to with the farmers who rely on it in an attempt to get a fair income from their labour.
I will agree with Duffy's post above. Power imbalances (like in the English milk industry which is also happening in Australia) are not the fault of the farmer. And dismissing Fair Trade for its efforts to try to restore some balance in poor nations is wrong.