Chocolate - the very word conjures up a hint of the forbidden and a taste of the decadent. Yet the story behind the chocolate bar is rarely one of luxury.
From the thousands of children who work on plantations to the smallholders who harvest the beans, Chocolate Nations reveals the hard economic realities of our favourite sweet. This vivid and gripping exploration of the reasons behind farmer poverty includes the human stories of the producers and traders at the heart of the West African industry. Orla Ryan shows that only a tiny fraction of the cash we pay for a chocolate bar actually makes it back to the farmers, and sheds light on what Fair Trade really means on the ground.
Provocative and eye-opening, Chocolate Nations exposes the true story of how the treat we love makes it on to our supermarket shelves.
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 195 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 129 mm
'A captivating read, painting a lively picture of the West African cocoa trade from a variety of perspectives.'
Daniel Balint Kurti, Global Witness
'I gave up eating chocolate years ago after seeing at first hand the exploitation that surrounds its production in Africa. Since then, endless panaceas and fair trading schemes have failed to improve the lot of the farmers. It was about time a book like this was written.'
Stephen Chan OBE, author of The End of Certainty
'That Mmmmoment when our lips meet the meltilicious chocolate bar we've been waiting for all day ... well, it could be the last bite we take of it that tastes right after reading this expose of the cocoa industry. "Fair trade" is a great feelgood advertising line, but it is often a contradiction in terms. Not much profit trickles down from the shelves of our shops to the farmers and child labour (in reality, trafficked or slave labour, Ryan says) of Ghana and Ivory Coast whose poverty is covered up by weasel words from trade associations and financial interests glibly defending exploitation and profiteering.'
'A fascinating account of the struggles of cocoa producers in West Africa, almost all of them smallholders, and what it takes to turn a crop of cocoa into a warehouse full of Ferrero Rocher.'
'Paints a disturbing and subtle picture of an industry few chocolate consumers think about.'
Sydney Morning Herald
'Arresting and provocative. The author's interviews with labourers movingly illuminate the struggles that lie behind an icon of western indulgence.'
'Presents the tragic and shocking detail behind the world's favourite confectionery.'
'A courageous and thoughtful account of a murky industry.'
Times Literary Supplement