After I met Solo on a cocoa farm in Ivory Coast, and learned a bit of his story, I asked if we could talk somewhere where we wouldn’t have an entire village listening to us. We sat in his bare room, and he shared part of his story. At times he was speechless. We were constantly interrupted by his master. This is what he said…
There are about 160,000 Solos (Forced Adult Laborers) in the Ivory Coast cocoa industry. The cocoa farmers themselves have trouble making a living, let alone paying workers, so they hire guys like Solo. One farmer told me that if he earned about one-half of one penny more per chocolate bar he would be able to provide his family with the life they deserve.
I’d pay half-a-penny more if I had the chance. How about you?
Why should we expect big chocolate companies to do better? Why should we buy Fair Trade chocolate? We should do it for all of the Solos out there and all of the cocoa farmers who grow a key ingredient in one of our most cherished foods: chocolate.