In a country long renowned for its cocoa beans, it’s a little ironic that until recently, Ivory Coast’s inhabitants haven’t tasted a chocolate.

We need to know what the farmers who grow the vital raw material -- the cocoa beans -- actually thought of the stuff we eat so liberally.


"Frankly, I do not know what one makes from cocoa beans," farmer N'Da Alphonse tells

He's heard it's turned into food, but he's never tried it. That's because chocolate isn't easy to find in Ivory Coast, and when it is, it's sold for around $2.70 — a third of what a farmer like Alphonse makes in a day.


Just think about it; More than a third of the world's cocoa comes from Ivory Coast; it produces more than any other country in the world. Still these farmers and their families, had never tasted chocolate -- let alone knew the various types which are made.

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But when Alphonse tries chocolate, he immediately gets why people the world over are buying it. "Ooh! It's nice ... and very sweet!" he exclaims.


That look on the elders faces as they tasted a humble Kit Kat. A big, toothless grin came across one of the faces.

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There was much laughing and cheering. Where children would normally clamor for the stuff, here they held back.They didn't know what it was all about.


He and Kouassi speed off on a motorbike to share it with other cacao farmers and the young men who help him on his plantation. "This is why white people are so healthy," Alphonse tells the other farmers as they pass a chocolate bar around a circle.


This exposes the stark disparities of the global food system with a light touch. What's also fascinating is that cacao clearly isn't a traditional food in Ivory Coast — it's a commodity crop. And it takes a lot of work to turn those bitter cacao beans into something as delicious as a chocolate bar.


Many, many cacao farmers like Alphonse (and not just in West Africa) reap practically nothing from their participation in the cocoa supply chain while retailers and companies like Mars and Nestle are pulling in the billions selling chocolate bars. (as per CNN reports.)

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