We have always believed what we pay farmers matters. Without them we have nothing. Literally. We're happy to share this Transparency Report not as the solution to cocoa farmer poverty but as a start. We believe in the connection between people, the beans, and the chocolate and it's our hope that this Report will contribute to that story.
Farm gate price is important to us because it’s an apples-to-apples comparison point that we use. Every single bean purchase we’ve made in our history has exceeded the average farm gate price by the amounts we list here. That is real money in the pockets of farmers It’s important to note that the world commodity price includes physical delivery of the beans to New York. The price we pay farmers does not include delivery to a U.S. port; that’s another fee we have to pay the shipping company, freight forwarders, and customs brokers. And if we use the commodity price per ton as our benchmark for discussion, then nobody really knows what the farmer receives. If we use the Fair Trade premium on top of the commodity price, we still don’t know what the farmer receives. One can claim to “pay” farmers ten times the market price but we don’t know who gets what. It is very common that the farmer will sell to a buying agent who then sells to another agent who sells to an export company who then sells to one of the eight multinational buyers who dominate and control the cocoa bean commodity sector. Here we post every individual contract and every price since inception.
This level of transparency in the cocoa supply chain is unprecedented, but that’s not what motivated us to release the data. We’re sharing this information for two reasons: because we think our customers deserve it and because we want to hold ourselves accountable. Are we delivering the value we say we are? After ten years of being in business, we felt it was important to assess ourselves, analyze our history, and figure out how we can improve. We owe it to our customers, who trust us, and we owe it to ourselves. We’re always striving to do better, be more transparent, make connections, and share more, with our customers, our farmer partners, and each other. One way we’re working to improve is by monitoring farm gate pricing even more closely. We also want to continue to improve cocoa bean quality. We can’t just share profits because we’re obligated to, we must share also as an incentive to harvest and ferment the beans with excellence, care, and attention to detail.
We must continue to sidestep the trap of complacency. After all, we have strong relationships with our farmer partners and awards for the chocolate bars made with their beans. But that thinking is a slippery slope to lesser bean quality, and thus lower-quality chocolate. Together with our farmer partners we will continue to innovate, think creatively, and be bold.
-- Shawn Askinosie, Founder/CEO Askinosie Chocolate
- The contract price plus the profit share we pay is, on average, 57% greater than the comparable farm gate price.
- For every purchase we've made that includes a profit share, we have paid farmers in excess of farm gate price by at least 18.8%.
- In the past 12 years, we’ve paid farmers on average 35% above World Market Price and 25% above Fair Trade Price.
- As of September 2019, we have profit shared more than $100,000 with farmers.
- Since 2005, we have paid over $1,100,000 to farmers in total (cocoa bean purchases plus profit shares).
- We’ve provided financing to farmers in 65% of all bean transactions over the last 12 years by making advance payments with zero percent interest charged to the farmers.
- In 2018, profit shares to farmers represented approximately 1% of gross chocolate sales and were at least 10% of net income.