Joseph Boahen Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana COCOBOD
Government has gradually cleared the delusion that children are being used on farms by family and labour hands, says the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo.
Some few weeks ago, a report which was published and funded by the US Department of Labour, enlisted Ghana and Ivory Coast as the top two cocoa countries that are using more than 2 million children on cocoa farms.
Following this, Ghana requested the U.S Labour Department to exclude it from the list while debating the validity of the report. Speaking for the group, the CEO of COCOBOD, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, says Ghana’s cocoa farmers have been educated on best practices to prevent the international community from boycotting Ghana’s cocoa hence, his outfit knows better.
“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.
The cocoa sector in Ghana is a key 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.
Worries raised about the use of child labour within the cocoa sector is high as it is seen as an indicator and corroborating the cause of poverty.
Reports by the Ghana Statistical Service in 2017 indicates that the number of Ghanaian workers engaged in the Agricultural Sector has plummeted from 70% in the 1970s to the current figure of 38% with a considerable number of farmers within the Cocoa Sector.
Ghana and Ivory Coast are currently the leading producers of cocoa with about two-thirds of the global market.
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, a major player in Ghana’s cocoa sector, following the child abuse report, has advanced child protection efforts in direct cocoa supply chains globally.
Earlier this year, it disclosed the progress on measures and partnerships taken to reduce child labour occurrences 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.