Theodor Kouakou, KAPATCHIVA, Ivory Coast, ©Éric St-Pierre

While most of the world’s cocoa comes from West African countries, such as Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana, Fairtrade also works with other small-scale farmers in a total of 20 countries in South America, Africa, and Asia.

Fairtrade cocoa can be found in all types of chocolate products, and even in a few items you might not suspect, such as moisturizing cream. The first cocoa product to bear the FAIRTRADE Mark was Green & Black’s Maya Gold chocolate bar back in 1994.This marked Fairtrade’s entry into the global confectionery market, an industry currently worth around $150 billion per year.

Fairtrade Cocoa Facts

  • Top 5 producing countries of Fairtrade cocoa are Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Peru, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador. However, there are also Fairtrade cocoa producers in 15 other countries, including Belize, India and Papua New Guinea.

  • Fairtrade cocoa producer organizations received €10.8 million in Fairtrade Premium funds in 2013-2014. They invested 43 percent of this in agricultural tools and inputs, training, credit services and direct payments to farmers.

  • There are different types of beans grown on Fairtrade cocoa farms: Forastero beans are generally used to make milk chocolate, while Criollo and Trinitario beans are used to make fine flavour cocoa products.

  • Farmers produced 20 percent of Fairtrade cocoa organically in 2013-14, a 10 percent increase since 2012-13.

Fairtrade Impact for Small-scale Cocoa Farmers

From 2012-13 to 2013-14 the volume of Fairtrade cocoa sold under Fairtrade grew by 17 percent, reaching 70,600 tonnes and the amount of Fairtrade Premium paid grew by 9 percent, reaching €10,8 million. There is a rapidly growing number of farmers who are seeking to benefit from Fairtrade certification. In 2006 there were 21 Fairtrade certified cocoa producing organizations. This number had grown to 129 in 2014.

Fairtrade is working closely with companies and producer organizations to source large quantities of Fairtrade cocoa and drive sales on Fairtrade terms, which is one of the reasons why Fairtrade started the Fairtrade Cocoa Program in 2014. This is part of ambitious goals set by confectionery companies to include sustainable cocoa in their products.

Premium funds have provided producer organizations with the means to improve their businesses and production, replacing old trees and investing in better facilities for crop collection, storage and transport, or processing.

See highlights from our most recent monitoring and impact report below. You can also download the full report or view our Impact and Research section for more reports on Fairtrade.

Challenges for Small-scale Cocoa Farmers

Demand for cocoa has been on a steady rise in recent years, a development especially fuelled by changing eating habits in emerging countries such as China or India. By 2020, industry representatives are expecting demand to exceed 4.5 million tonnes per year, which would put demand on track to outpace supply.

Despite this growing demand, many smallholder farmers struggle to sell enough to earn a sustainable income. Cocoa processing is in the hands of just a few corporate players and consolidation continues in the industry. Thus, producers face increased price pressure at the beginning of the supply chain.

Even when producers are able to sell their cocoa beans, their product is not valued as one might think: growers are likely to receive around 6 percent of the final value of a chocolate bar containing their cocoa. This figure is down from 16 percent in the late 1980s. Further down the supply chain, processors and branded manufacturers receive around 40 percent of the value of a chocolate bar, while retailers currently see about 35 percent.

Globally, around 4 million tonnes of cocoa are produced each year. Fairtrade certified production represent just a fraction of this amount, but with confectionery companies making major commitments to sustainable sourcing of their cocoa, there is significant potential for increased sales and increased impact for Fairtrade farmers.

General Cocoa Facts

  • Did you know cocoa is considered a tropical plant? It grows on trees and in a hot, rainy climate. Hence, it can only be cultivated in close proximity to the equator

  • Fruit pods from cocoa trees contain 30-40 seeds, which are extracted, fermented and dried in the sun turning them into cocoa beans.

  • The Netherlands is the global leader in cocoa trade and has committed using sustainable cocoa for all domestic cocoa and chocolate products by 2025.

  • Côte d’ Ivoire (1.5 million tonnes), Ghana (842,000 tonnes) and Indonesia (447,000 tonnes) produce the largest shares of the annual global production of 4 million tonnes.

  • Around the world, 90 percent of cocoa is grown and harvested on small-scale family farms.

Recent Fairtrade News on Cocoa


More than 2 Million Supporters Join the World’s Largest Fairtrade Celebration

15 May 2017

This year, over 2 million participants in more than 4000 celebrations gathered for Fairtrade Celebrations, to celebrate the difference Fairtrade is making to the lives of farmers and workers worldwide. This event builds on the...


New Programme with Women Cocoa Farmers Seeks to Close Gender Gap

12 May 2017

Launching today, the Women’s School of Leadership is an innovative new programme which will improve women’s opportunities in cocoa communities in Côte d’Ivoire. The programme is being led by the producer network Fairtrade Africa.


Fairtrade International and the International Trade Centre Expand their Cooperation

13 April 2017

Fairtrade International and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding aimed at improving the livelihoods of small farmers and promoting income diversification.

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Buying and Selling Fairtrade

Fairtrade products are sold in over 130 countries. For more information on Fairtrade near you, visit Fairtrade Near You or select one of the countries in blue on the map below. If you’re interested in selling Fairtrade or sourcing Fairtrade products in your country, see our information about selling Fairtrade.

Guidance Documents for Fairtrade Producers and Buyers

Fairtrade International offers the following guidance documents as a complement for the Fairtrade Cocoa Standard.

Guidance on Productivity and Quality Improvement

The following guidance document on productivity and quality improvements is designed as a support document for cocoa producer organizations.  It provides an explanation on what productivity and/or quality improvement is and what investments this may require, as well as additional information on the reporting of these investments.  This document relates to section 4.3.7 and 4.3.8 of the Fairtrade Standard for Cocoa for Small Producer Organizations. 

EN - Guidance Productivity & Quality Improvement (PDF)

SP - Guidance Productivity & Quality Improvement (PDF)

FR - Guidance Productivity & Quality Improvement (PDF)

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