Multimedia exhibition for the love of chocolate in the Amsterdam Maritime Museum

Kadir van Lohuizen and Solidaridad today launched the multimedia exhibition ‘For the love of chocolate’, which will run from 20 November through 16 February 2014 in the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam (Het Scheepvaartmuseum).

With this exhibition Solidaridad wants to focus attention on increasing the sustainability of cocoa production, because if nothing happens, farmers will stop growing cocoa and there will be a shortage of chocolate.

Three times as much cocoa per hectare

Photojournalist Kadir van Lohuizen was asked by Solidaridad to travel to Ivory Coast to see where our chocolate bars come from. For a week he stayed with two cocoa farmers and their families. There were striking similarities and differences in their work and in their lives. For example, one farmer harvested three times as much cocoa as his neighbour. Van Lohuizen explains: “There are big differences between these two farmers in their working lives and in their home life. But, to put these differences into perspective, the family that is better at growing cocoa – thanks to training and increased knowledge – still can't make a good living from the yield. They are just less poor.”

New investments needed to save cocoa production

Cocoa production is at risk worldwide. If nothing changes, cocoa farmers will no longer be able to meet the growth in demand. Hans Perk, cocoa programme manager at Solidaridad, put it this way: “Current efforts are insufficient to solve the problems. To do that, new investments are needed – from the sector itself, from governments and from NGOs. What's more, there is an urgent need for new approaches.” The multimedia exhibition For the love of chocolate opens up new perspectives, but also shows how far there is to go before the cocoa sector is sustainable.

From plantation to supermarket

Kadir van Lohuizen took penetrating photos of the journey made by cocoa beans. He made numerous portraits of people who work in cocoa and chocolate production. After visiting the farmers, he followed the cocoa to the point where it is exported from Ivory Coast. Via the world's largest cocoa harbour in Amsterdam and one of the biggest chocolate factories in the world, Mars in Veghel, his journey ends with the consumer in the supermarket. Designer Jeroen de Vries built a multimedia exhibition using the photographs and video material.

Travelling exhibition

With the multimedia pictorial exhibition For the love of chocolate Solidaridad intends to increase support for sustainable cocoa production in the chocolate sector and it is making plans to take the exhibition around the world of cocoa and chocolate in 2014. The story is also told online at www.cocoa-solidaridad.org. In this way, Solidaridad wishes to support partners and companies who want to use this story to involve their employees, customers and consumers in sustainable cocoa production.