A Canadian chocolatier has made a big splash in Ireland and Ghana in recent months with her plans to open the first Fairtrade bean-to-bar factory in Ireland.
Allison Roberts, now a resident in Clonakilty, Ireland, started her first chocolate business at age 12 in King City, Ontario, Canada. In 2014 she was awarded a trip to Ghana as a Fairtrade representative and has since been on a mission to draw attention to, and create more business for Fairtrade cooperative farmers in Ghana, West Africa.
”The impact of Fairtrade in these rural communities is remarkable, we’re talking about the basics – introduction of water facilities, toilet blocks and schools,” Roberts explains. ”Fairtrade also provides education for farmers around crop rotation and safety and the Fairtrade premium nurtures the development of other industries such as batik or palm oil production in these areas of high unemployment. One of the major problems with the chocolate industry is widespread child-slavery,” she continues. ”Fairtrade means farmers get a fair price for their crops, ensuring no child is ever taken from their family or forced to give up education.”
Roberts has been running her business, Clonakilty Chocolate, for six years and is now the process of buying her first set of manufacturing machines with the ultimate goal to reproduce her Irish factory in Ghana so that Ghanian farmers are able to add value to their products. ”This is all part of a much bigger issue; there is an urgent need for a greater understanding around the impacts of food choices in the West. Large corporate control in the industry means we’re often not shown the reality behind the products we consume,” she said.
For more information and to watch videos from Ireland and Ghana visit www.clonakiltychocolate.com.