Science Shop project: Beyond Fair trade? Resignification of fair trade in cocoa and coffee sector

Published on
June 11, 2019

How do African cocoa and coffee farmers understand and shape the discourse of fair trade, what is the influence of commoning practices on this and how can arts-based methods advance our understanding of these changes? Those are the questions guiding a project by the Science Shop and Africa In Motion.

Africa In Motion

Africa In Motion (AIM) is a foundation, which unites African Diaspora in the Netherlands with the aim of enhancing socio-economic emancipation of Africa. AIM recognizes the ambition of African Diaspora to fulfil their dreams in their home countries, and AIM acknowledges the situated knowledge and expertise African Diaspora have about home and host country. In practice AIM functions as a broker to connect African Diaspora in the Netherlands with African and Dutch social entrepreneurs.

Community based research

The cocoa trade and industry is a heritage of the colonial past of the Netherlands. Except for Ivory Coast the Netherlands is the major transit port of cocoa and producer of semi-finished products of cocoa, such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter and cake. Certification ensured reforms to a more sustainable and transparent value chain but has up-to-date not created a transformative change whereby main revenues of cocoa production are allocated in the producing cocoa country and farmers can work within a food sovereignty framework. Unknown is how practices of commoning in the cocoa sector are changing the discourse on fair trade. How is fair trade resignified by African farmers and other actors in the cocoa value chain in Africa, and by African Diaspora and other concerned citizens in the Netherlands.

The Science Shop looks for a master student, who likes to do his/her thesis on the resignification of fair trade in the cocoa (and/or coffee) sector, with the use of arts-based methods.

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