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Chocolate Nations: Living and Dying for Cocoa in West Africa


Chocolate – the very word conjures up a hint of the forbidden and a taste of the decadent. Yet the story behind the chocolate bar is rarely one of luxury…

From the thousands of children who work on plantations to the smallholders who harvest the beans, Chocolate Nations reveals the hard economic realities of our favourite sweet. This vivid and gripping exploration of the reasons behind farmer poverty includes the human stories of the producers and traders at the heart of the West African industry. In doing so, Orla Ryan shows how only a tiny fraction of the cash we pay for a chocolate bar actually makes it back to the farmers, and how Fairtrade makes very little difference on the ground.

Provocative and eye-opening, Chocolate Nations exposes the true story of how the treat we love makes it on to our supermarket shelves.

Praise for the Book

'I gave up eating chocolate years ago after seeing at first hand the exploitation that surrounds its production in Africa. Since then, endless panaceas and fair trading schemes have failed to improve the lot of the farmers. It was about time a book like this was written.' - Stephen Chan OBE, author of The End of Certainty

'Orla's Chocolate Nations is a captivating read, painting a lively picture of the West African cocoa trade from a variety of perspectives. It casts a critical eye over the role played by governments and multinationals, while also putting fair trade and child slavery campaigns in perspective. It gives us all a good deal more to think about when we eat "the food of the gods".' – Daniel Balint Kurti at Global Witness

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