First Person Blog

Voices, video, and photos from Oxfam's fight against poverty

Photo of the week: Women farmers and the big business of chocolate

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Photo: George Osodi/Panos for Oxfam America

Comfort Adeniyi, a cocoa farmer, on her farm in Ayetoro-Ijesa in southwest Nigeria. In this portrait by photographer George Osodi, Adeniyi holds a long knife used by farmers for cracking open cocoa pods, weeding fields, and other routine tasks.

Adeniyi’s portrait also appears on Oxfam America’s new fact sheet, Women and the big business of chocolate. Ninety percent of the world’s cocoa is grown by 5.5 million smallholder farmers like Adeniyi, many of whom live below the poverty line. In West Africa, where most cocoa comes from, women do nearly half of the labor on cocoa farms but own just a quarter of the land. They have fewer economic opportunities and, as workers, typically earn less than men.

Fortunately, consumers like us can help (and we don’t even have to give up chocolate). Check out Oxfam’s Behind the Brands scorecard to learn what the world’s biggest food companies could be doing to improve their policies. Then join thousands of others and ask companies to give cocoa growers a fair deal.

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