Living income.

Earning a living income is a human right, including for farmers. It is also a key aspect of HALBA’s commitment to sustainability (see Living Income and Wage Policy). 


What does «living income» mean?

Every human being has the right to a living income that supports a dignified existence. A living income covers the cost of food, shelter, clothing, healthcare, children’s school education and other basic expenses. It also offers leeway for unforeseen events. While Fairtrade has given many farmers a reliable income, some of them still struggle to escape poverty. The causes include excessively small cultivation areas, a lack of diversification and low levels of productivity in the agricultural plots; this can also be due to unforeseen weather conditions. A lack of know-how and the relevant technologies, paired with high production costs and fluctuating – and sometimes low – market prices for products grown and sold under these conditions, are further factors that pose challenges for farmers.

How can a living income be implemented reliably?

To combat poverty, Fairtrade International, the umbrella organisation of Fairtrade Max Havelaar, has collaborated with other players and calculated country-specific reference prices for various industries. These data determine, for example, how much a tonne of cocoa needs to cost to generate a living income for a farming family.

With the «Sankofa» sustainability project, HALBA has been supporting cocoa farmers since 2019 and at the same time promoting environmental protection and income diversification in cocoa cultivation in Ghana.  In addition, since October 2020 project farmers have also been receiving a premium in addition to the cocoa sale price as part of this project. This means that they receive the reference price calculated by Fairtrade in order to ensure a living income. Since 2023, this premium has been paid transparently to farmers via mobile payment.