Cocoa value chain analyst, Eliseus Opoku-Boamah, says 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 eliminate 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 we can root out child labour on cocoa farms across the country.
Opoku-Boamah recommends that resources must be directed towards building capacity and also set up the necessary robust Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems 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.
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 CLMRS and regular household and community follow up visits is very important. I know that some NGOs and organizations have done and are still doing some work on Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation Systems” he pointed out.
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.