There are no simple answers here as the culture and economy of cocoa differs from country to country. I think one of the challenges that social certifications (e.g., Fairtrade) create is the idea that there is a one-size-fits-all simple solution that can be presented in a simple label.
A first step is to recognize the complexity of the issue.
The next step is more federation.
Then there is the need to educate farmers, and provide access to tools, that will help them understand what buyers want and need and how to meet those needs.
Another step is to move as much cocoa as possible off the formal market (i.e., the commodity market) to the informal (private) market. There the farmer groups (e.g., co-ops), can have more leverage in transactions – this is aided if they can push back, knowing what their cocoa is capable of producing in the way of finished chocolate.
I know there isn’t a quick and easy solution for this, when so much money is made out of the trade and squeezed from the farmer. What would you think helps, Clay?
As long as cacao is being traded as a commodity, farmers will not have control over their own destiny. A broker/trader in an air-conditioned office in a skyscraper in Manhattan (or Chicago, or London, or … ) can decide to short without any real understanding of the effect it has on farmers’ lives and livelihoods.