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Int Dev Admission Essay

728 words - 3 pages

Ecuador is the biggest fine or flavor cocoa exporter of the world and being the chocolate a billionaire industry worldwide we would imagine that cocoa farmers enjoy great benefits from this industry. But in fact, when the production chain of cocoa and chocolate is analyzed we can find large differences in the working conditions of the farmers in producing countries like Ecuador and those of the workers in countries where the manufacturing industries are located. Still in the 21st century, in the producing countries we can find cases of labor exploitation of children, and sometimes serious violations of human rights and strong impacts on their health and the environment. Meanwhile in the developed countries, where the manufactures are located, the transnational corporations proclaim their ethical production codes, respect for labor and human rights and environmental protection.

This reality is a reflection of the inequality in income distribution in the production and marketing of cocoa-based products, where 70% of the final price of the product is received by transnational companies and the industry, while producers receive only 5% of final prices. This often does not even get the farmers to cover the costs of production. Additionally this means that the market structure leaves producers with little ability to make decisions and unlikely to actively participate in the definition of international economic rules. For this reason they are forced to produce at low cost, which affects the working conditions of farmers.

Being a descendant of cocoa farmers and having had contact at the International Cocoa Organization with representatives from African countries, I know from first hand that children aged between 5 and 14 years, are working in the cocoa sector not only in Ecuador but all over the world. Unable to go to school, the children have little hope of escaping the cycle of poverty in the future, and if they are able to attend, the benefits they get from this schooling are much lower than they should be. It seems that transnational corporations discharge their responsibilities about this situation by the fact that although they buy cocoa directly to the farmers, the farmers do not belong directly to their companies and therefore are not defended by their...

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