Unfortunately it is common practice in a typical cacao sourcing model for cacao growers to sell their crop to a cacao collector, who often treat and pay them poorly. This cacao collector then resells the cacao to a regional/central processor, where the cacao is stock piled in mass and prepared for export. Huge international trading companies in the US, Asia and Europe will purchase these exports, finance and warehouse them. Did you know that cacao is a commodity traded on the world stock exchange? Lastly a chocolate company will buy the cacao from the trading company and make chocolate.
The only real difference with 'fair trade' cacao is that the cacao is sold with a 10% premium. It does not guarantee that a farming family lives above the poverty line. Every other step remains the same. The supply chain is so vast and complex that it is extremely rare for a chocolate company to know exactly who grew the cacao they use for their bars. This lack of traceability can lead to violations in ethics and exacerbate child labour, extortion and corruption. Fortunately this is typically negated by the additional paper trail of Fair Trade, but as you can notice the value of the extra 10% premium is quickly dissipated in a long supply chain.
Through the ground breaking heart work of The Cacao Ambassador and Mamamuti we are going way beyond Fair Trade. This means our supply chain is short, so we can pay a higher price for cacao at an earlier stage of the process and truly give the growers a voice. When there are less middlemen, the growers benefit. That is at the core of what we do. Mamamuti currently also trades with cacao growers in Peru through Seleno Health.