COCOBOD commits to eradicating child labour

Management of Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) says it remained committed to ensuring that child labour in any form within the cocoa value chain is eradicated.

The regulator of Ghana’s cocoa industry said as part of its sustainability agenda, COCOBOD had adopted a policy of zero tolerance of Child Labour as an important component of the company.

A briefing by COCOBOD in reaction to a documentary “Children in Cocoa Labour” called for closer collaboration and consolidation of efforts to achieve the goal.

The documentary, the statement said showed that there were yet some criminal elements set on defying the government policy and undermining the serious efforts of COCOBOD to eradicate child labour in cocoa production.

“We have reported the situation to the Police and some arrests have been effected in the Ashanti and Western North Regions. All suspects and persons of interest are currently going through the legal process,” it said.

It said COCOBOD took seriously any report which portrayed a child of school-going age as having engaged in activities on a cocoa farm that could be construed as child labour.

“COCOBOD and the Government have taken a strong stance against child labour of any kind and condemn any act which undermines the efforts aimed at ensuring sustainability in the cocoa industry.

“Any case of child labour also has a negative impact on the reputation of the country on the international stage,” it said.

The statement said the government over the years, had introduced various anti-child labour programmes and interventions to sanitize the cocoa industry.

That, the statement said include but is not limited to the implementation of the child labour free zones concept, the training of labour officers on child labour issues, harmonizing the Ghana Child Labour Monitoring System with the Child Labour Monitoring System, the formation and training of District child protection committees, the free senior high school programme to keep more children in school, and the capitation grant and the school feeding programme.

It said COCOBOD also introduced and distributed to all cocoa-growing communities, the dual-purpose motorized pruners and slashers as a means to mechanize the labour-intensive aspects of cocoa farming to reduce the need to hire labour to work on cocoa farms.

“We also recognize the continuous efforts of NGOs, civil society organisations and the media who work in the sustainability space in helping to expose these crimes.

We are cautioning any persons who may be involved in these acts to desist from undermining the industry which forms the backbone of this country,” it said.

Source: GNA

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