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.
What is fair trade cacao?
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.
The Mamamuti way - beyond fair trade
Mamamuti’s cacao sourcing process is unlike any other. Here I have to mention the groundbreaking work of my friend, Oonagh Browne. Her business, The Cacao Ambassador, breathes life into Mamamuti. I cannot serve you cacao, with a clear conscience, if it wasn’t for her. She connects me DIRECTLY to the growers because she’s on the ground with them. Her devotion to empower and liberate the hands who tend to cacao moves me to tears. I know of no one else who has committed themselves so deeply to this cause. For those of you who don’t know, Oonagh is a master chocolatier, cacao lover and visionary. She’s the ultimate embodiment of cacao’s heart. One day the history books will speak her name for the cutting edge work she’s doing to heal the cacao and chocolate industry. The paradigm shift she’s creating is massive. Currently there are no ‘official’ terms to define what Mamamuti and The Cacao Ambassador do together, side by side, for cacao. This we know is true - it is far beyond Fair Trade and Ceremonial.
Creating an equally abundant cacao industry
The heart and soul work of The Cacao Ambassador and Mamamuti ensures that 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. Mamamuti currently also trades with cacao growers in Peru through Seleno Health.