Stories of Chocolate

Colombia cocoa farmer, courtesy of

In equator lands,
Sacks of sun-roasted jewels,
Cocoa farm’s triumph.

Chocolates, courtesy of

Tokens of passion,
Chocolate gems tantalize,
Sold at bargain price.

Black, turquoise, and green
flames on chocolate wrappers.
Ethical treasures. 

There is a story behind these three haiku:  growing, harvesting, extracting, and drying cocoa beans requires hours of labour that are under-compensated.  Most of the work is carried out on small family-owned farms– over 70% of cocoa comes from West Africa.

 Under the fair trade system, farm organizations provide safe working conditions, eliminate child labour, and earn a fair market price.  Did you know that when you purchase a conventional chocolate product, your treat may have originated from the labour of a child–and that the price you pay does not reflect fair value?  For this reason, I generally buy chocolate showing the blue, green, and black fair trade logo. I purchased the examples shown above in major chain stores. (Please be assured–I gain no financial reward from promoting these products–they are shown only as examples.)

If you are interested in finding out more about fair trade chocolate, these links may be of interest:

Ontheland fair trade pageprovides a brief description of the international fair trade system and links to major fair trade organizations all over the world.

My post about the Kuapa KoKoo Farmer Cooperative in Ghana, featuring four brief videos. Kuapa KoKoo fair trade cooperative supplies cocoa beans to a major chocolate manufacturer in the United Kingdom.

Child labour on Nestlé farms: chocolate giant’s problems continuea report from the Guardian, September 2015.

The haiku in this post are in response to Ronovan Writes Haiku Challenge #83. The prompt words are ‘gem’ and ‘flame’.  Synonyms used are jewel and treasure for ‘gem’; and roast and passion for ‘flame’. Are you curious what other people came up with? Please follow the challenge prompt to find out.

©2016, All rights reserved by

15 thoughts on “Stories of Chocolate

  1. Janice, these are beautiful and tantalising haikus – I want some chocolate! My son learnt a lot about ethical / fair trade chocolate at school and I felt humbled at my lack of knowledge and now we always check before we buy. So important.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I started out with the write up on Ronovan Writes. He provides guidelines in each and every prompt post and links to another page on his blog as well. For me the amount of guidance he provides is enough –he doesn’t weigh you down with tons of info that could tie you in a knot…and if you browse the links to what people write, you’ll find a wide variety of styles. With time you’d develop your own style and the number of syllables feels more natural (ie the right number appears like magic!) For his prompts it is very worthwhile to check for synonyms–even if you stick with the original word it really enriches your understanding of its potential (click ‘more synonyms’ under main entry). The other possibly helpful aid is syllable counter –I believe he links to that as well– I generally just count my own but it can obliterate any doubts. Hope that helps :))

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s