Cocoa farmer

Aim: To understand why consumers should pay a fair price for cocoa.
You will need: Props (optional).
Duration: 30 minutes

As a group you will role play two scenarios. One is set in Ghana, the other in the UK. Each group will be performing their scenes at the same time.

In the first scene, a farmer in Ghana is struggling to survive as he has only been paid a low amount for his cocoa crop. He can never tell how much he will receive, so he cannot make plans for the future. He works very hard tending his cocoa plants, clearing away weeds and looking after the surrounding trees (that give the cocoa plants shade). The farmer has never tasted chocolate because he cannot afford to buy it. (Extra characters can include other family members helping on the farm, and the middleman who buys the cocoa.)

In the second scene there is a family eating chocolate. You can decide the details, but it will involve a special occasion where lots of boxes and bars of chocolate are being opened and shared around. (The characters can include several family members.)

Both groups should continue acting out their scenarios at the same time - then the cocoa farmer discovers a secret passage into the UK living room. Act out how you think he would act, and how the family would respond. How does it feel to have the farmer there face to face with the chocolate eater? Use some of the information below in your discussion.

Some useful information:

  • Chocolate eaten in the UK only contains about 20% cocoa. Good quality chocolate contains around 50% cocoa.
  • The big chocolate companies can produce low cost chocolate because they have the power to negotiate cheaper prices for ingredients and they have cheap large-scale production.
  • Big chocolate companies can afford to pay for expensive advertising.
  • About 0.5p from a 90p bar of chocolate goes to the cocoa farmer.
  • Fairtrade guarantees a minimum price to the farmer (even if world cocoa prices fall) and pays a premium to be used for community projects.
  • Fairtrade offers one solution, but there is not enough demand for fairtrade chocolate so farmers have to sell most of their cocoa at normal lower prices.