The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, says government has been able to erase the misconception that Ghanaian cocoa farmers exploit children on their farms.
A recent report funded by the US Department of Labour, claimed that Ghana and Ivory Coast were using more than 2 million children on cocoa farms.
Even though Ghana has already petitioned the U.S Labour Department disputing the report, the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, says Ghanaian cocoa farmers have been educated on best practices to prevent the international community from boycotting Ghana’s cocoa.
“In the value chain, the consumers are looking for cocoa that has been produced in a sustainable and responsible manner. And the cocoa is also being cultivated in the forest reserve. If you look at our productivity enhancement programmes, we are trying to use limited land but increased productivity. This means that instead of maybe using ten hectares at a go, we will use maybe two hectares but productivity is increased per the same two hectares,’ he said.
Ghana’s cocoa industry is a major contributor to government revenue and GDP.
It employs approximately 800,000 farm families spread over nearly half of the 16 regions of Ghana as the crop also generates about $2 billion in foreign exchange annually.
Concerns about the use of child labour within the cocoa sector is high as it is seen as a symptom and self-reinforcing cause of poverty.
According to a 2017 survey by the Ghana Statistical Service, the number of Ghanaian workers engaged in the Agricultural Sector has dropped from 70% in the 70s to the current figure of 38% with a sizeable number of farmers within the Cocoa Sector.
Currently, Ghana and Ivory Coast produce nearly two-thirds of the global supply of cocoa.
In 2018/2019, Ghana is estimated to have produced about 812 thousand tons of cocoa beans, a decrease from approximately 969 thousand tons in 2016/2017.
Cargill advances child protection efforts in direct cocoa supply chains globally
Cargill, a major player in Ghana’s cocoa sector, earlier this year announced progress on measures and partnerships taken to reduce child labour incidences in cocoa farming communities of the world.
The company has been partnering cocoa-farming communities to identify, remediate and prevent child labour through community-based interventions, access to education, training and entrepreneurship initiatives.
With the use of its Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), the company’s approach involves training women and youth to conduct surveys on child labour and coordinate data collection systems in 56 communities where these farmers live.