Child labour
Amidou Yeo helping his parent work on a cocoa pods to meet our chocolate needs | Image credit: Adam Gerrard/Sunday Mirror

Eliminating child labour requires multi-stakeholder cooperation – cocoa expert

Child labour is a significant problem in all over the world including Ghana, affecting millions of children which requires multi-stakeholder cooperation according to cocoa expert.

It is a common practice in Africa to find children aged 5 to17 years assisting their parents in various activities but this has been described by international organisations as child-labour.

For many households, what has been termed child-labour is a coping mechanism and most of the children are involved in agriculture and fishing industries.

There is heavy campaign ongoing to reduce this negative act, however, there also exist a lot obstacles to the prevention of the menace.

Some of the elements that impede the prevention of child-labour include social norms that consider it acceptable for children to work and promote the view that many adolescent children should be treated as adults.

Others are poorly enforced legislation and policies prohibiting child-labour, insufficient allocation of resources for the prevention of and response to child labour, inadequate services to support working children or prevent child labour and family reliance on income generated by children due to extreme poverty.

Child labour and cocoa production

A key area of agriculture where child labour has generated a lot of attention is the cocoa value chain across the West Africa. The international market for cocoa has threatened to reject cocoa beans from that part of the world if the social issue is not addressed by authorities.

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Cocoa Value Chain Analyst, Mr. Eliseus Opoku-Boamah has added his voice saying Ghana needs a supportive attitude rather than a punitive approach to reduce and eliminate child-labour in cocoa farms across the country.

He mentioned that child labour and hazardous work within the Ghanaian cocoa value chain still remains a challenge.

“Players in the sector are aiming at ensuring responsible cocoa sourcing and seeking to set up an effective Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems (CLMRS) which is supportive approach and that’s one of the best strategies to tackle child-labour in our cocoa-growing regions,” he said.

The cocoa expert made these observations in an interview with this reporter on Ghana’s cocoa sector and how it can root out child labour on cocoa farms across the country.

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Mr. Opoku-Boamah recommends that resources must be directed towards building capacity and also set up the necessary robust CLMRS to identify, prevent and monitor child labour in the cocoa supply chain.

“There is the need to coordinate the various existing sustainability initiatives that seek to address the issues and challenges of child labour within the cocoa supply chain and draw meaningful and practical lessons and experiences for implementation,” he mentioned.

Child Labour
Amidou Yeo, 15, and his dad Kregapou, work on a cocoa plantation to meet our chocolate needs | Image: Adam Gerrard/Sunday Mirror

He suggested that stakeholders must conduct a risk assessment research to assess the level of risk that exists in cocoa farming households and prioritize communities where the risk is high.

“The need to support community-based investments and development programs to address the root causes of human rights issues in areas of women empowerment, education and income.

“The need for training and awareness creation to increase the knowledge on the concept of Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems and regular household and community follow up visits is very important. I know that some NGO’s and organizations have done and are still doing some work on Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems,” he pointed out.

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He indicated that governments have shown some commitments when it comes to the fight against child-labour in the cocoa value chain but it’s not enough.

“It requires a multi-stakeholder partnership approach; where government and its relevant ministries and agencies including law enforcement agencies partner with players in the cocoa sector and chocolate industry at both local and international level to help in this fight against child labour and hazardous work within the Ghanaian cocoa value chain,” he said.

The Choice Press is an online news portal that seeks to project what the gallant small-scale farmers in Africa are doing. We basically report on everything that has to do with agriculture and agribusiness, especially in Ghana.
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