It is a sad fact and indicator of the inequality of our society that many of those who put in the labor may never taste its fruits. A group of cocoa bean farmers in Africa’s Ivory Coast recently had the opportunity to do just that when they tasted the chocolate made with their beans for the first time. A correspondent from Metropolis TV visited the farmers and gave them their first-ever chocolate bar – hit the jump to see a video of their reaction.
Though it’s a small West African country, Ivory Coast is the leading producer of coffee beans in the world. Many of the farmers have been working with cocoa beans for decades, but until recently never tasted chocolate. Why? CNN.com reports that because the farmers are at the bottom of a global supply chain that is “firmly against [them]” – in the form of traders, processors, exporters and manufacturers sitting above them demanding profits. This gives them little-to-no bargaining power and very little money to support their families in return – let alone buy chocolate.
One farmer interviewed, who makes just over $9 USD per day, doesn’t even know what happens to his beans after they leave his planation and can’t afford a chocolate bar that costs $2.70 in his community. Upon being offered one, he says “I didn’t know that cocoa was so yummy. Delicious.” Upon taking the bar to his friends and fellow farmers, they’re at first loath to believe that it’s actually made from cocoa beans. Here’s what Huffington Post says:
“The farm workers pass the bar around to each other, marveling at the taste and teasing Kouassi good-naturedly. They break into a cheer when a third is offered. ‘We complain because growing cocoa is hard work. Now we enjoy the result. What a privilege to taste it.’”