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If you want to feed the people of the third world eat chocolate - Discuss.

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Introduction

If you want to feed the people of the third world eat chocolate. Discuss. Human use of the cocoa bean can be traced back to around 600 BC where it was used as part of an ingredient in a hot, liquid beverage consumed by the Mayans in Central America. Around 2 millennia later, in 1491 AD, Christopher Columbus introduced cocoa into Spain. Columbus had discovered these seemingly dull and un-important beans during his expeditions to the Americas where at this time cocoa was being drunk by the Aztecs, in much the same way as it had been by the Mayans. There was one difference though, 'chocolatl' (meaning 'warm liquid') was a regal drink and very few people, mainly only the Emperor, ever had the chance to taste it; let alone the actual people who cultivated the bean. This situation appears to have remained the same for over 500 years, but just broadened to an international scale. In terms of the chocolate industry we are very much a global microcosm of the Aztec society. In England the average person will spend $98 per year on chocolate. 7 years ago the European chocolate industry was valued at $18,463 billion. Chocolate is a multinational industry and is sold everywhere in the world. However, chocolate has humble beginnings. Grown in many places from The Ivory Coast to Indonesia to Brazil, cocoa often starts its existence in poverty. Poor cocoa farmers in these countries grow acres of cocoa trees in plantations similar to the one in Figure 1. Cocoa farming does not depend on seasons, the countries that grow cocoa tend to have equatorial climates with evenly distributed annual rainfall. Fig. 1 Cocoa trees in an African plantation. So, with an all year round growing season it takes an expert eye to recognise by appearance which fruits are ripe. When these pods are identified they are removed one way or another dependant of their location on the cocoa tree. ...read more.

Middle

We are now familiar with the equatorial LEDC's climatic conditions, which are (excepting Hawaii) the only environmental circumstances that support the cultivation of the cocoa tree. We also know about the level of chocolate consumption and production that currently exists globally. So rationality would infer that these equatorial countries effectively dominating the cocoa market should be 'rolling in it'. Yet we also know that these countries remain LEDCs, some stricken with poverty and disease. At this point reason intervenes and we must realise that somewhere someone or something is cheating these small-scale cocoa producers. Cocoa production is an unsophisticated, un-mechanised and primitive industry, it is labour- intensive so cacao plantation owners normally employ workers when they are harvesting. Cocoa growers are not always poverty-stricken, some are extremely wealthy if they own enough plantations, but the people who work on the cocoa are plantations are invariably poor. Figure 6 is a house in Accra, the capital of Ghana, this represents the sort of living conditions that Ghanaian cocoa workers have. Behind that house is a Ghanaian luxury villa, of the sort that our rich, cacao plantation owners would inhabit. Fig. 6 Juxtaposing living conditions in Accra, Ghana. Plantation owners affect their workers quality of existence directly by how much they pay them, whether they themselves are rich or poor. In the equatorial LEDCs of study there is no minimum wage for workers; they are paid as little or as much as employers deem necessary, but there is also no minimum price for cocoa. Cocoa is a freely traded global commodity and its price is determined by the current supply and demand, previous attempts at establishing a minimum price for cocoa via the International Cocoa Agreements and the World Bank have failed and there were inter-governmental agreements to liberalise the market. This means that like the wages of plantation workers, cocoa prices can be as high or as low as buyers want them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The wealthy, large cocoa plantation owners will be able to join cooperatives and get better prices for their cocoa because of the minimum price and also live in a better area due to the social development fund from the premium. The wealthy government districts will deteriorate and perish, they were a cheating middleman and there is no longer any need for them because the small-scale cocoa producers have joined cooperatives that deal directly with the manufacturers. The small-scale chocolate companies will flourish and become Fair Trade MNCs because their goods will be widely distributed and more renowned as Fair Trade. The small-scale cocoa producers will have an increase in their income and a better standard of living because they will have Fair Trade customers who will buy as much as they produce which will also increase because they have higher yields due to pesticides, etc. The cocoa plantation workers lives will improve because they have an increase in income and their settlements, like the small-scale cocoa growers', are developing because of the minimum Fair Trade wage and social development fund. The other people in the LEDCs will have an increase in their standard of living due to the social development plan and the consumers in the UK and other MEDCs will be even happier because there is a higher amount of better quality cocoa in the chocolate they are eating resulting in the release of even more endorphins and dopamine and they still have a high standard of living. Maybe Cadburys are right and the second option could create a surplus of cocoa causing a collapse in the global market and catastrophic consequences to all the people in the equatorial LEDCs, but then maybe they are wrong and it won't. Personally I think it's worth risking it if there is any chance of reducing any of the poverty that over 1.5 billion people suffer in this world, poverty which, incidentally, could be completely eliminated by the combined financial power of the worlds seven richest men. Daniel Murphy Geography Coursework Page no. 1/7 Daniel Murphy ...read more.

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