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US pledges $17m to end child labour on cocoa farms in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire

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The US government and the chocolate manufacturing industry have made a pledge of $17 million to help end the worse forms of child labour on cocoa farms in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire supply more than half of the world’s cocoa.

The US Labor Department pledged $10 million and chocolate industry groups pledged $7 million at a ceremony Monday in Washington D.C. to launch an initiative to end the practice of child labour on cocoa farms.

The money will be used to build schools and help rural families in the two countries to escape poverty so they don’t have to rely on their children’s wages. The Labor Department will monitor and report on progress.

When allegations of child labour on cocoa farms in Ghana were being made some years back, the Vice President, John Mahama refuted the allegations. He said, “I wish to state that Ghana is a signatory to the various conventions on Child and Forced Labour and would never allow any infractions especially in a prime sector such as cocoa.”

He made these remarks at the launch of cocoa products manufactured by Cargill Ghana Limited (CGL) at Tema on September 9, 2009.

“Rural farm families own small cocoa farms usually planted on family lands or rented through traditional land tenure systems…Minors accompany their parents to farm as part of their social acculturation,” he said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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