Dark Chocolate – Life behind the cocoa plantations

posted in: Food Culture | 0

Written by: Silvia Uesu

Chocolate is one of the most prized delicacies in the world. Besides containing many oxidants that help the cardiovascular system reducing blood pressure, its aroma increases brain waves, causing relaxation of the body. But above all, chocolate have millions of fans for its sweet taste, that can be combined with many other ingredients such as caramel, nuts, mint, etc. pleasing even the most picky palates.

However, life is not so sweet for those working in the world’s largest cocoa plantations – the main raw material for the production of chocolate. West African countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast supply over 70% of world cocoa.

Recruiters seek workers in poor neighboring countries such as Mali and Burkina Faso, where nearly 200,000 of them are children, some even younger than 6 years old.

cacoa worker 2

The semisweet taste

The documentary “Semisweet: Life in Chocolate” shows that many children are encouraged to leave their villages to work in the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast, with the promise of enrichment and therefore, a better life.

But the thousands of children who leave there, few return to their families. In plantations, they are forced to work up to 16 hours a day, barefoot. In addition, more than 50% of cocoa plantations use pesticides banned in almost the entire planet, which also end up killing some children with respiratory problems.

The result of all this work are about  100,000 CFA francs, which gives about $ 209 per year. When asked if they knew what they were for the cocoa beans they grew, African children said they had no idea what they were for.


Credit: “Semisweet: Life in Chocolate” documentary