CocoaAction: is it making a difference?

This article in Confectionery News points out the complexity of the challenges faced.

CocoaAction’s latest annual report contains only baseline data and it is too early to assess impact, says the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF).

There's so much going on in the report that it's difficult to summarize beyond, “If Cocoa Action is making a difference so far, it's not making a difference for most cocoa farmers, including those who have signed on.”

I encourage everyone to go read the full article on ConfectioneryNews .

Art Pollard, over on FB in the post where I learned about this article, says one problem is the low price of chocolate; as long as chocolate is cheap, cocoa is going to remain cheap. He points out that a tiny bonbon can cost $2-3 whereas people have trouble paying $5 for a whole chocolate bar. One of my takes on this argument is that bean-to-bar chocolate makers need to start making things they can charge a lot more for and where the distribution channels are not so choked.

My question was, on reading this on facebook, why provide support to increase production when prices are already depressed ?? Why not provide support that make farm holdings more efficient ie contribute to the national food supply chain by growing spices and other crops that don't compete with cocoa. I still have Clay's post from some years ago where he explored the issue of the '$100.00 chocolate bar,. It comes to mind reading Art's comments. If we recall Hershey's founder fled Imperial Russia. His gift to the country where he experienced freedom was to create a chocolate company that would sell chocolates that everyone, regardless of status or income could afford. This gave the world 'cheap chocolate'. So how do we exorcise Mr Hershey's ghost ?? I agree with Clay, bean to bar makers need to make products that don't compete with Hershey. So, any ideas ??

@Olando - The focus on increasing farmer income through increased production is kind of like trickle-down economics in that it does not work. Increasing production depresses prices, especially if the corresponding demand is lower than supply.

Unfortunately, most of "big chocolate" consists of publicly-traded companies and they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize shareholder return. This creates a fundamental conflict of interest that cannot be resolved by normal market dynamics.

I don't have a simple answer for this dilemma. I do know that one of the promises of the modern small-maker small-batch craft chocolate is to help farming families improve lives and livelihoods but, as I point out in Part 1 of my 2017 State of the Market series, there is increasing evidence of an oversupply of beans that the community already can't absorb entirely. That's a bad sign for everyone who is a fan of better chocolate.

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