Katie Couric's Notebook: Cocoa Controversy

It is the perennial Valentine's Day treat, but your heart-shaped box of chocolates may be at the heart of a human rights crisis half a world away.

More than a third of the world's cocoa supply comes from the west African nation of Ivory Coast.

The farmers who grow it earn as little as 80 cents a day. Children as young as five work those fields, too. And many don't go to school and most are not paid.

Reformers in that nation say cocoa profits prop up the current president, who is clinging to power after being voted out.

While some human rights groups have advocated a boycott of cocoa from Ivory Coast, that would only mean deeper poverty for farmers who already earn far too little.

One expert told the AP chocolate companies need to take greater responsibility and pay farmers an honest wage.

If life is really like a box a chocolates, kids in Ivory Coast have tasted the bitter kind for long enough.

That's a page from my notebook.

I'm Katie Couric, CBS News.


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