An NGO has called for a “massive effort” to eliminate child labour from the cocoa supply chain because around one in three children in the cocoa-growing areas of Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana is involved in child labour.
The areas account for more than 65% of global cocoa production, said the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), which promotes child protection in cocoa-growing communities.
The ICI believes only 10-20 % of cocoa-growing communities are currently covered by community or supply-chain monitoring and remediation approaches specifically designed to reduce child labour. It said coverage of these programmes urgently need to be scaled up.
The organisation, as part of its new 2021-2026 strategy, is calling for fully responsible supply chains through systems and services that prevent child and forced labour.
It is also seeking due diligence legislation in cocoa consuming countries and policies that advance access to quality education and social protection.
The ICI wants coordinated approaches among “the many actors who have a critical role to play in helping cocoa-growing communities to thrive” to maximise the impact of changes.
The ICI said the level of child labour within the industry was “of grave concern and all actors in the cocoa sector have a shared responsibility to help vulnerable children access their basic rights”.
The organisation said it had been working in cocoa-growing communities in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana for 13 years and believed its community development work had led to a 20-30% reduction in child labour.
It said by 2025 it hopes to impact the lives of 1.7m children living in cocoa-growing areas and was seeking to trial and evaluate new ways of tackling child and forced labour, as well as conducting research on the root causes of the issue and effective policies to tackle it.
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