Chocolate’s Human Impact Between five and six million people, largely smallholders, grow cocoa around the world. In Ivory Coast, cocoa farmers earn around 50 cents per day and in Ghana around 84 cents per day. Farmers are shortchanged since chocolate’s revenue and profits are strongly skewed towards traders and manufacturers.
The revenue distribution has only gotten worse: In the 1980s, farmers received an average of 16% of the value of a chocolate bar. today (2017/09), that number is 6.6%. In comparison, 35% goes to chocolate companies and 44% goes to retailers like supermarkets.
Additionally, the chocolate industry is notorious for labor rights abuses including slave labor and child labor. According to the US Department of Labor, “21 percent more children are illegally laboring on cocoa farms in Ghana and The Ivory Coast than five years ago.” An estimated 2.1 million West African children are still engaged in dangerous, physically taxing cocoa harvesting. Rather than eliminate the problem, the industry has merely pledged to reduce child labor in Ivory Coast and Ghana by 70% by 2020.