General News of Friday, 9 November 2018
Source: Nyarko Abranoma
Government’s will to deal with activities of child labour has been described as minimal considering the efforts put in so far.
According to sources, even though child labour in cocoa producing areas across the country had downed, it seems the children are being shifted to other sectors of the economy where child labour is also on the rise.
The Supply Chain Manager of International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), Frank Yeboah Essuamah speaking at the donation of educational materials to some selected deprived pupils at Aponoapono in the Suhum municipality of the Eastern Region narrated some children who used to work in cocoa farms have now diverted into the fishing and oil palm sector.
He insisted that government should do more in helping to deal with child labour by ensuring he collaborates with private and cooperate organizations to assist in educating the public against the use of children for hard work instead of being in school.
“Due to the massive education ongoing in the cocoa sector, child labour has reduced drastically but it’s unfortunate the same children are moving to other sectors like the fishing and oil palm production which is very worrying”, Mr. Essuamah noted.
However, the Chairman of Aponoapono Biakoye Organic Cocoa Farmers Association (ABOCFA), Mr. Stephen Ashia on his part emphasized on the need to produce a healthy cocoa without the use of child labour.
He, therefore, appealed to parents and the general public to helping the fight against child labour and ensure children of school going age have access to education since it forms part of their rights as children.
He added his outfit has over the years supported the about 13 communities making up ABOCFA with a population of not less than 700 cocoa farmers out of the premium the association receive from their clients who purchase the cocoa beans.
“We have over the years supported the communities with a premium we get yearly from our clients in terms of water and electricity provision, education and the health sectors. We are against the use of child labour in our activities so I urge all parents to see to it that their children are not forced into doing hard work that exceeds their strength” Mr. Ashia added.
Items donated to pupils by ICI, Tony Cholatetly and ABOCFA included school uniforms, exercise books, bags, mathematical sets and bicycles to assist pupils from far areas to have easy access to the school on time as part of the remediation exercise.
The beneficiaries of this exercise were identified through the data collection process carried out among farmers working in Tony’s supply chain within 13 communities in the selected areas with ABOCFA, a farmers Cooperative operating in that area. This process is part of the activities conducted by the Community Facilitators of the Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS) to eliminate child labour and improve child protection in the cocoa supply chain.
The main objective of this remediation exercise is on the one hand to ensure that children found to be at risk of child labour are regularly in school as a way of protecting them from hazardous work on the farms. On the other hand, the support to parents will contribute to the sustainability of the intervention by creating an additional source of revenue that can be used to support their children’s education.