10th Anniversary of Naba Martin Adongo Abilba III

Participants in the validation workshop
Participants in the validation workshop

Let’s collaborate to tackle child labour in cocoa farming

TAKEHOLDERS in the cocoa sector have been called upon to collaborate to tackle the issue of child labour on cocoa farms.

The Country Director of Rainforest Alliance Ghana and Nigeria, a CSO, Kwame Osei, who made the call, explained that many families who grow cocoa in the country relied on the contribution of children because the vast majority of cocoa in West Africa was grown by poor smallholder farmers.

According to the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), an estimated 1.56 million children are engaged in child labour in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.

The figure, he said, was alarming and needed to be addressed urgently if the country wanted to boost its cocoa production.

“The child menace is complex, therefore, we need all expertise on board to tackle it head on. Our challenge is that the sector is stricken with poverty which culminates in many difficulties at the farmer level,” he said.


Mr Osei was speaking at a validation workshop on Gender Sensitive Human Rights Due Diligent (HRDD) Toolkit in Accra under a project dubbed: Ye Ni Mmofra No Nti.

The workshop was on the theme: “Tackling Forced and Child Labour in Ghanaian Cocoa and Gold-mining”.

The HRDD toolkit for cocoa cooperatives and artisanal gold miners and mining firms in the country is designed to provide people with the necessary knowledge and understanding of human rights issues, especially child labour, forced labour and gender inequality.

“I believe that we are all in this together and by completing this tool, implementing and scaling it up, it will go a long way to reduce the incidence of child labour and bring cases to their  lowest level” he added.

Child labour

Studies show that most of the children who work on cocoa farms do so within their immediate or extended family.

It also came out that not all of such practices was child labour. However, when such work hampers a child’s health, development or education, it is considered unacceptable, according to internationally agreed conventions.

And since it can have negative impact on future generations, child labour is considered as both a symptom and a contributing factor to the cycle of poverty.


A Researcher and Lecturer in Planning, Environment and Sustainable Development, Dr Albert Arhin, said the HRDD would also provide the tools and guidance to prevent, identify and address the negative impacts within their cooperative, group and firm operations, while considering the diverse experiences and situations of women, men, girls and boys.

The toolkit, he said, further provides relevant information on the nature and impact of issues in the cocoa sector, as well as the legal frameworks and internationally recognised standards that governed them.

For her part, the Senior Project Manager of Rainforest Alliance, Joyce Poku-Marboah, also said that the introduction of the toolkit was to ensure the uptake and implementation of gender-sensitive best practices and human rights due diligence of 120 selected cocoa cooperatives, companies and gold mining associations covering over 300,000 members by the end of 2024.

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