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St Valentine's Day

13 February 2012

Are you hoping for an extravagant chocolate treat from your loved one this Valentine’s Day? A heart-shaped box, cushioned with silk, and laden with a tantalising selection of mouth-watering delights?

Or perhaps your dream for Valentine’s Day – loved one or not – is to enjoy a decedent feast of your favourite chocolate bar, wrapped up in a blanket on the sofa, watching your favourite film?

14 million people worldwide depend upon cocoa for their livelihood and about 90% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from small, family-owned farms.

However you plan to spend the day, step into any newsagent or supermarket and you are likely to be overwhelmed by the choice of chocolate on display.

From the old school favourites to the new temptations, there is something for every palate and taste.

But as we contemplate the sheer range on offer, think for a moment of the cocoa producers who have laboured and toiled on their land to deliver that wonderful flavour to your taste buds.

Fourteen million people worldwide depend upon cocoa for their livelihood. Most of these are small farmers, and about 90% of the world’s cocoa supply comes from small, family-owned farms. 

In Nicaragua

For Nicaraguan farmers, their problems began back in the 1990s. At this time they relied on producing coffee, but this was subject to the ‘coffee crisis’, leaving hundreds and thousands of them destitute.

With the help of Christian Aid partner Soppexcca, they have now diversified into growing cocoa, helping them find new ways of making a living and providing for their families.

Farmer Miguel Angel Zelaya has switched from producing coffee to cocoa, and says ‘It’s already solving some of our money problems – we’ve got more money in our pockets.’

He has learnt how to grow, cut, ferment and dry the cocoa, as well as selecting the best seeds to plant for the next harvest. Thanks to the work of Christian Aid and partner Soppexcca Miguel says ‘You are helping people to pull themselves up and we’re moving forwards step by step.’

If you’d like to make a difference this Valentine’s Day, visit Present Aid, our charity gift website. You can buy your loved one the gift of cocoa seedlings which could make a big difference to a farming family in Nicaragua and help them escape from poverty. 

Present Aid

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