Nestle have announced KitKats will no longer be Fairtrade. From October they will stop buying from cocoa and sugar farmers in Cote d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi on Fairtrade terms. That means ripping away around £2 million of annual Fairtrade Premium payments, in the middle of a huge health and economic crisis. Farmers will be getting less for their hard work and have less control over how they spend their money.
Nestle turned a profit of over $10 billion last year.
An Ivorian cocoa farmer to the city of New York addressed a packed room. She told us just how much hard work goes into growing cocoa for our chocolate bars, and how getting a Fairtrade deal has meant she can change her life and her community for the better, from improving her home and earning more money outside of cocoa farming, to improving farming methods to grow her income.
Since that day, so much has changed. The Coronavirus crisis is pushing many cocoa and sugar farmers to the edge, making the security and flexibility Fairtrade offers more important than ever.
Up to 27,000 farmers in Côte d’Ivoire, Fiji and Malawi will feel the impact of this devastating decision, but have had no say in change. In fact the Ivorian Fair Trade Farmer Network have made it clear – farmers want to stick with Fairtrade.
“As Fairtrade producers, our voice is heard and taken into account. We are treated with the respect and dignity we deserve. Stopping the relationship with Fairtrade is to silence our voices… This is a devastating blow for some of the world’s poorest producers, many of whom live on less than a dollar a day.” Atse Ossey Francis, President Ivorian Fair Trade Administrative Committee
Now more than ever, multinational companies making huge profits from farmers’ hard work have a special responsibility to offer support and solidarity.
Nestle say they are considering offering other payments to cushion the blow for the farmers who stand to lose out. But farmers don’t want charity handouts or temporary compensation, they just want to keep getting a Fairtrade deal, and to have a say in their own future.
10 years of Fairtrade KitKat has seen these farmers choose how to spend Fairtrade Premium payments, deciding democratically how to develop their farms and communities, for example building classrooms, training local women to start their own businesses, investing in medical facilities and strengthening their cooperatives, amongst other things.
Now cannot be the time to disempower and disadvantage farmers. Especially with so many now needing Fairtrade Premium funds to protect their communities from the Coronovirus crisis.
When KitKat was being developed, Rowntrees – who then made the chocolate bar – were renowned as one of the best employers in my part of the country, always going the extra mile to support their employees with decent pay and conditions and high quality housing.
This petition is supported by NUS, Tearfund, Commitment for Life, National Campaigner Committee, Fairtrade Yorkshire, Scottish Fair Trade Forum and Fair Trade Wales