Trade: feed the family
How much does it cost to live in Ghana? What difference does Fairtrade really make?
Planning the lesson
This lesson involves looking at the incomes of cocoa farmers, what farmers need to spend money on, and the difference Fairtrade can make to their standard of living.
Ask students what their family has to spend money on every week. They should come up with food and drink, clothes, transport, going out, paying for their hobbies, and so on. Remind them that sometimes it is difficult to find the money to pay for all these things.
Now tell your students that they are going to have a look at the things people in Ghana need to buy and the hard choices they often have to make because they are poor. (back to top)
What do cocoa farmers earn in Ghana?
Use this activity to help students understand the financial situation of a cocoa farmer family like Victor’s and the choices they have to make. It also shows that even a small increase in earnings means a lot in Ghana, where the costs and incomes are very different from the UK’s.
Remind students that the Kuapa Kokoo co-operative buys cocoa from farmers and is able to sell some of it to the Fairtrade market. The farmers earn more for this cocoa as well as getting other benefits for themselves, their farms and their families.
Give out Printout: What do farmers earn and what do things cost? and ask students to read the statement in the box. Write the following questions on the board. Ask students to quickly work out what a farmer would earn:
- if all his or her cocoa was sold to the Fairtrade market (£355)
- if none of his or her cocoa was sold to the Fairtrade market (£255)
If Kuapa Kokoo could sell all their cocoa to the Fairtrade market, their farmers would earn £71 per sack rather than the conventional trade rate, which was £51 per sack in 2005. This price fluctuates a lot and has been as low as £22 per sack in 2000.
If a farmer produces on average five sacks per year, this means that he or she could receive an extra £100 per year from selling to the Fairtrade market. Kuapa Kokoo would also receive $200 per tonne of cocoa through a 'Fairtrade premium' to invest in community projects such as building water wells and new school buildings, mobile health clinics, and developing the Credit Union.
Explain that most farmers in Ghana sell none of their cocoa to the Fairtrade market.
Pairwork: What do things cost in Ghana?
Ask the students to study the table and make up three questions to ask their partners.
For example: How many Wellington boots could Comfort buy with an extra £100? And how many could she buy from the sale of one sack of Fairtrade cocoa beans, i.e. with £71?
Kwaku Owusu has three children at primary school. How much of the extra £100 would be left once he has paid for their school books, pens and uniforms this year?
Students then swap their questions with another pair. Students could write a number sentence to show how they answered each question.
Ask students to explain what difference £150 could make. Highlight the enormous difference that Fairtrade makes to their income. Ask them why they think not all cocoa can be sold to Fairtrade companies and what they think can be done to help the farmers sell more Fairtrade cocoa.
Ask students to imagine that they are cocoa farmers. Devise a spending scheme for the money they have: if they’re earning around £255 a year, what will they spend their money on? And what if they suddenly need to buy medicines? What will they cut back on instead? How many sacks of cocoa would they need to sell to send a child to secondary school? (back to top)