“The further from the tree, the better the revenues.“ I often heard this phrase while discussing inequalities in the cocoa or coffee sector. It suggests an imbalance that we should perhaps accept to exist?
Taking a trip to Ivory Coast is the best way to get in touch with reality.
While visting Soubre, the heart of cocoa production in the country, my eyes were caught by the beauty of the 70 meter high ceiba trees. The UTZ certified producers received me with the traditional greeting ceremony “faire le feu,” in which people form a circle, rub the palms of their hands together, and then applaud to welcome the visitor.
Somehow I felt very close to these farmers since, just like them, I focus so much of my attention on cocoa. But in a way this is an illusion, because we are worlds apart from each other when it comes to poverty.
When the ceremony was over the producers approached me to share their experiences and concerns, and the message was clear: There is still too much poverty to have a decent and sustainable life.