Interventions aimed at eradicating worst forms of child labour on farms in the country are paying off in the Eastern region has the practice has reduced drastically.
Following the formation of the Community Child Protection Committees (CCPC) by the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), the use of children on cocoa farms in the region, has been reduced significantly, leading to enrolment of children in schools.
The worst forms of child labour on cocoa farms, according to international conventions, involve children being used to spray chemicals on cocoa farms, burning bushes, harvesting cocoa pods with equipment, breaking cocoa pods with cutlasses and carrying heavy loads of cocoa from farms.
In order to achieve the maximum results on its mandate in educating and sensitizing farming communities against the practice, the CCPC has, in partnership with the security agencies and traditional councils, formed a task force that sanctions cocoa farmers who engage children in labour.
At a training session at Koforidua to build the capacity of journalists on child labour issues, it was explained that the ICI has also instituted ‘Noboa’ groups in the form of providing farm equipment and labour needs to ensure that cocoa farmers ceased using children on their farms.
Mr Thomas Agyei, Secretary of the CCPC at Basare-Nkwanta, a cocoa growing community, recalled that until the ICI intervention, they used their children to work on the cocoa farms and saw nothing wrong with it because they deemed it as a way of training their children, who would inherit them.
He said with the ICI intervention, most cocoa farmers appreciate the need to enroll their wards in school, and avoid burdening them with hazardous work on the farms.
“In order to eliminate child labour on cocoa farms, ICI instituted a programme that provides alternative livelihood activities such as crop seedlings, agric related businesses and financial support to cocoa farmers do the right thing.”
To an extent, he said what was known to the international community as child labour was a socialization of children by parents in cocoa farming, however, the ICI through the CCPCs, was making sure that the worst forms of child labour was eliminated from cocoa production in Ghana.
By Nii Adotey/adrdaily.com