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Ideas - Cocoa, the challenge for corporate social responsibility |
Many of us are passionate about chocolate. "Divine Chocolate", "Jungle Passion" and the food of the gods capture the essence ofchocolate. And the chocolate makers create more confections to tempt us; chocolate with ginger and chilli, chocolate with vanilla, pineapple ..., but everything depends on the cocoa bean.Cocoa, thechallenge for corporate social responsibilityThe food of the gods, theobroma cacao, otherwise known as cocoa was grown by the Maya some two thousand years ago. A drink was made from ground the beans,black pepper, vanilla and spices. Cocoa beans were also used as money, a horse was worth ten coffee beans.Cocoa was brought to Europe in the 16th century, chocolate houses were opened in London where theintellectual elite gathered to drink chocolate, discuss the natural sciences. Later in the 17th, century with increasing political freedom they took to composing scurrilous pamphlets about monarchsand politicians. The Quaker families of Fry, Rowntree and Cadbury made their fortunes from cocoa and turned to philanthropy. Elizabeth Fry was a prison reformer; Cadbury built Bourneville village foremployees and local people and led the field in factory working conditions. Joseph Rowntree was an active anti-poverty campaigner and set up the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This was nineteenth centurycorporate social responsibility.Cocoa grows in warm, moist climates in rich soils in West and Central Africa and Central and South America. African cocoa accounts for 70% of world production, is themost important cash crop and the majority of cocoa farmers are small holders.back to the topGrowing cocoaWhen land is cleared for cocoa fruit, medicinal and timber tress are retained as they areimportant economically and provide shade for the growing cocoa trees. Initially maize, plantain, cassava and other food crops are interplanted with the cocoa and as the cocoa trees grow mango, cola, guava,...