|Title||Blood and Chocolate|
|Director(s)||Evan Williams, James Brabazon|
|Date released (year)||2007|
|Production company||Channel 4|
|Keywords/tags||Labour abuses, agriculture, commodities, civil war, international trade|
|Link to film||http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwHFQByuUI8, www.channel4.com/programmes/unreported-world/episode-guide/series-2007/episode-3
|Synopsis||Blood diamonds may get all the media attention, but as this Unreported World highlights, there’s a far cheaper commodity bought by millions of Britons every week, which is fuelling a violent conflict in West Africa: chocolate. Hundreds of men, women and children have been killed, villages razed to the ground and thousands forced to move into slum refugee camps. And all because the world loves chocolate.After four years of civil war between ethnic groups in the south and north of the Ivory Coast, which killed more than 2,000 people, there’s supposed to be a UN-sponsored ceasefire. But reporter Evan Williams and producer James Brabazon need armed guards as they begin their journey driving through the west of the country up to the front line. All along the roadside are villages that have been burned down.
The team walks into the village of Sada, where every house has been destroyed. The local militia chief tells them that 200 people used to live here. He claims that they fled when they were attacked by raiders – northerners from a neighbouring village.
It’s immediately clear that the raid was all about control of the village’s cocoa crop. Ivory Coast provides around 43% of the world’s cocoa, and it provides more than a third of the country’s entire foreign exchange. Cocoa growers can make between £500 £1000 a year – an extraordinary amount of money for this part of the world.
The team drives on to another village, Zéaglo, just in time to witness a show of strength by the main southern militia. Their leader, Mao Glofiei , claims to have ten thousand men under arms. According to the ceasefire his men should have disarmed. But Unreported World films Mao Glofei distributing a cache of automatic weapons, while his men sing that ‘the rebels are bad, their mothers are bad, their fathers are bad, their children are bad and we’ve got to kill them.’
Driving down the most dangerous road in the country and deeper into the disputed areas, the team arrives in the village of Duezone. Villagers say five thousand people used to live here, but only a handful have dared to return. One resident, Ferdinand, tells them that attackers burst into his house at dawn, slashing his father with a machete and killing his brother. He says it was all about who controlled the cocoa-growing land.
Williams and Brabazon drive on to a village populated by the so-called northern immigrants. One of them tells the team that when they originally came to the area, they were welcomed by the local indigenous people, but as soon as they started profiting from the land by growing cocoa the locals started demanding it back. For this reason, he has to fight to protect himself and keep his land.
A new peace deal between the two sides is meant to lead to an election later this year. Under the deal UN forces are already planning to withdraw. But as Unreported World films combatants on both sides rearming and retraining, localised attacks over land and cocoa threaten to spiral yet again into a full-blown confrontation.
|Reviews/discussion||Producer James Brabazon is no stranger to risky assignments. But even he, alongside reporter Evan Williams, needed armed guards to make Blood and Chocolate in ethnically explosive Ivory Coast. The guards in question are “native” (their description) southern Ivorians and it’s not possible to travel to the west of the country without them. Despite the 2003 UN-sponsored peace deal that followed four years of civil war, the southerners refuse to disarm, claiming that “immigrant” foreigners from the north pose a constant threat to the south’s land and cocoa. Yes, cocoa – 40 per cent of the world’s cocoa plants are found in this region. Blood diamonds get the publicity, but the raw ingredient for the millions of chocolate bars consumed every week is fuelling a conflict increasingly at odds with the notion of a ceasefire. PWD Source:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/tvandradio/3664757/Todays-TV-and-radio-choices.html
Unreported World is a foreign affairs programme produced by Quicksilver Media Productions and broadcast by Channel 4 in the United Kingdom. Over the course of its twenty-four series, reporters have travelled to dangerous locations all over the world in an attempt to uncover stories usually ignored by the world media. The first episode of series 24 was broadcast on 2 November, 2012. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unreported_World
(see this link for full list of Unreported World episodes)
|Links to other resources||Canadian divisions of chocolate makers face price-fixing accusations, November 28, 2007:
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/ottawa/story/2007/11/28/chocolate-investigation.htmlMystery trader buys all Europe’s cocoa, by Jonathan Sibun and Harry Wallop, July 17, 2010
The purchase was enough to move the entire global cocoa market, sending the price to the highest level since 1977, and triggering rumours and intrigue in the City.
It is unclear which person, or group of traders, was behind the deal, but it was the largest single cocoa trade for 14 years.
The cocoa beans, which are sitting in warehouses either in The Netherlands, Hamburg, or closer to home in London, Liverpool or Humberside is equivalent to the entire supply of the commodity in Europe, and would fill more than five Titanics. They are worth £658 million.
Analysts said it was very unlikely that a chocolate company, such as Nestle or Kraft, or even their suppliers, would buy such a huge order in one go and that is was probable that one or a number of speculators, possibly hedge funds, had attempted to corner the market. By doing this, they would have control of the entire supply in Europe, forcing the price yet higher.
Eugen Weinberg, an analyst with Commerzbank, said: “For one buyer it would likely be a little bit too large. It would be a crazy number. That said, if you’re cornering the market …”
“If it looks like cornering, feels like cornering and the price difference between Europe and the US is so large, it probably is cornering.”
“There is some play taking place. No one really knows what is going on.”
Andreas Christiansen, president of the German Cocoa Trade Association, said the “hefty” price move was “a mirror of what can be done if people control the physical stock”.
Cocoa prices, which had been on the rise this year, rose 0.7 per cent yesterday, to £2,732 per metric ton. By contrast, cocoa being traded on the US exchange fell.
This is the highest price for cocoa in Europe since 1977, and comes after a series of weak harvests in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the main areas where the crop is grown. Fears of floods in the Ivory Coast have sent prices even higher, as speculators have bet on another poor harvest, and a shortage of supply.
At the same time demand is on the increase, especially as China and India develop an ever sweeter tooth.
Cocoa prices have more than doubled since 2007, forcing chocolate makers to raise prices and in some cases to change recipes to use less cocoa.
Laurent Pipitone, senior statistician at the International Cocoa Organisation in London, said: “In the past two years, all companies have increased prices.”
There are fears that the extraordinary activity on the commodity markets will filter down to higher prices on the shop shelves for the nation’s favourite chocolate bars, even milk chocolate, which has only 25 per cent cocoa content.
The trade took place on the London International Financial Futures and Options Exchange (Liffe), a market which trades contracts in commodities such as corn, wheat, sugar, coffee and cocoa.
Most of these contracts are “options” or “futures” giving a trader the right to buy these commodities at a certain price at a certain time in the future. What made yesterday’s trade so unusual was that the mystery buyer or buyers took physical delivery of the commodity.
The beans will be stored in one of Liffe’s warehouses in Amsterdam, Antwerp, Bremen, Felixstowe, Hamburg, Humberside, Le Havre, Liverpool, London, Rotterdam, or Teesside.
There have been mounting worries that speculators have been distorting the cocoa market in recent weeks, with brokers writing a letter of protest to Liffe earlier this month.
Barbara Crowther, a spokesman at the Fairtrade Foundation, said that no farmers in West Africa would benefit from the higher prices. She said: “This speculation only serves to increase volatility and uncertainty. Part of the problems in rent years have been the lack of investment in improving cocoa farms. But the farmers have already been paid a set price – none of this money will filter down to them.”