Chocolate. Whatever your preferred form or flavor is, the love of it is something that feels universal, shared between us. We come together over dinner for it, celebrate birthdays and holidays with it. The industry that produces chocolate crisscrosses the entire world.
But for the cocoa bean farmers from M'batto, Ivory Coast, seen in the video above, that connection didn't come full circle until Selay Marius Kouassi, guest correspondent for Metropolis TV, visited and offered them a taste of their first chocolate bar.
Ivory Coast, a small country on the west coast of Africa, is the world's leading producer of cocoa beans, the primary ingredient in chocolate. As a result, many of the farmers in the video have been working with the crop -- surrounded by it, really -- for decades.
But, unbelievably enough, they've never had a taste of the finished product.
As CNN.com explains, cocoa bean farmers are at the bottom of a global supply chain that stands "firmly against [them]." Because the traders, processors, exporters and manufacturers all sit above farmers on that chain and demand a profit margin, farmers have little bargaining power and receive the bare minimum for their product.
N'Da Alphonse, the first farmer to take a bite, says that he doesn't even know what the cocoa beans he's working hard to harvest and dry are used for. For all his hard work producing the beans, he only makes seven euros a day. In M'batto, a bar of chocolate costs two euros.
Kouassi offers him a bar to eat, and he immediately lights up. "I did not know that cocoa was so yummy," he says. "Delicious."
He takes another bar to his friends. They're excited, but suspicious. "Are you really 100 percent sure that this is made from cocoa beans?" one man asks.
The farm workers pass the bar around to each other, marveling at the taste and teasing Kouassi good-naturedly. They break out into a cheer when a third is offered.
"We complain because growing cocoa is hard work," one of the workers says, having taken his first bite. "Now we enjoy the result. What a privilege to taste it."
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