"Five years ago Britain's chocolate manufacturers promised to wipe out dangerous child labour in the farming of cocoa. A BBC investigation into the industry in Ivory Coast has uncovered evidence of continued abuse - with children being kept out of school and forced to work with little or no pay.
Humphrey Hawksley reports from the Ivory Coast - and we'll be interviewing the chocolate manufacturers' representative live, on tonight's programme." - taken from BBC Newsnight website.
Stella and I often discuss that reading the paper and watching programmes like Newsnight on a regular basis is not necessarily a good idea if you have a punitive conscious or care about the world and the people who live in it.
Last night I watched Newsnight - There was a report from the Ivory Coast where most of the cocoa that becomes chocolate is grown. It was so sad to see how the poor farmers try and eek out a living, and so many of their children are kept away from school to help with the gathering of the cocoa beans. They came across a young boy and you could see the distress and despair in his eyes. It was so, so sad. Its Easter soon and I thought about all the chocolate that is about to be consumed and the millions of pounds that will be spent and yet the people who grow it live in poverty. I know I can buy fair-trade chocolate such as Green and Black or Devine, but that is just a spit in the ocean. It’s very difficult to know what an individual like me can do to make any difference. It’s not just chocolate, even in this country look what has happened to farmers? There is so much imbalance and it makes me unhappy thinking about it.
Bit of a miserable bitch today aren’t I?
I don’t have a lot of time for people who are obsessed with cheap food – it’s cheap because the producers are screwed and it isn’t only the animals who suffer, people suffer. I don’t want to be judgemental, but of course I am being just that. I’m not for one moment criticising a poor family on benefits or low income who don’t have any other option to buy cheap if they want to feed their family, but I guess I am criticising those who give no regard to the consequences of their choices.
I do believe there has to be a middle ground - it's great wanting to be organic, and support fairtrade but for all the millions of people who dont' give a single thought to where food comes from or whether the chicken that cost £1.99 suffered I do think there needs to be an affordable alternative.
What do you think?
How can we make the world a kinder place to live in?
I am putting my soap box away now.