What are the conditions on a cocoa plantation and those for the people working there? How can one recognise African fair trade products on one’s shopping round? And what are the things that one can discover in an African marketplace? From 18 to 27 January at the International Green Week Berlin, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and more than 20 of its partners will be providing answers in Hall 5.2a.
Federal Minister Gerd Müller: “Far too often, Africa still bears the burden of our wealth. Production of coffee, cocoa, cotton and precious metals continues to be the result of slave labour, child exploitation, hunger wages and rainforest logging. As individuals we can all do something. There is power in the purchase of a fair trade product, and it belongs to the consumer. Every day, the choices we make are a statement on whether we want to end exploitation or not. It is important that, as consumers, we demand to know the conditions under which our daily products are made. For at the beginning of this process there are always people who are making a livelihood from their hard work.”
In Ivory Coast, a farming family of seven harvesting cocoa barely makes 100 euros a month. The money earned does not even cover the monthly costs. The result is poverty and child labour. 2.3 million children work on cocoa plantations in West Africa alone, where Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Ghana account for more than 85 per cent of the cocoa on the German market.
In Hall 5.2a visitors can explore the regions where cocoa, coffee and cashews are grown. There they can find out about the conditions under which their favourite products are made and how they make their way onto the supermarket shelves. Visitors can see what cocoa beans look like, what they taste like, and how hard many people have to work to harvest them. On other displays they will discover that cashews are not only healthy, but that growing them has created over 530,000 jobs as a result of development projects in Africa. In the age of climate change cashew trees are astonishingly resilient. They can withstand extreme weather events and flourish in regions where cocoa can no longer be grown.
Thus, this authentic African marketplace will be inviting visitors to sample and discover its products. It will also show how African products have become part of our regular diet. Moreover, the digital innovations that farmers are experiencing in Africa show the huge leaps in progress that modern technology can help to achieve. Over the ten-day event, well-known chefs will also be demonstrating how tasty fair trade products are. Finally, fascinating stage shows, live music and highlights such as insect delicacies will round off the event. At the Green Week the BMZ will be represented together with Welthungerhilfe, the WWF, Fairtrade, Brot für die Welt, Misereor and many other organisations and dedicated enterprises.