cocoa farms, generally these family farms grow multiple crops. Mr. Guyton noted that the World Cocoa Foundation3 has many member organizations including large branded companies who participate in the programs, processors, traders, port authorities, and many smaller chocolate companies from such areas as North America, Europe, and Southeast Asia. He also noted that the World Cocoa Foundation partnered with many more organizations:
Farmers and farmer organizations
Governments in cocoa producing countries
Government and development agencies
CGIAR Centers (IITA and ICRAF)
U.S. Agency For International Development (USAID)
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
NGOs (Winrock, ACDI/VOCA, IFESH, Technoserve, Socodevi, Making Cents)
Researchers and universities
Mr. Morgan began his presentation by offering background on child labor issues in West African cocoa production. He noted that the industry began to be pressed on this issue in September of 2000 and more so in the spring of 2001 when there were public reports of children in very dire straights in the cocoa sector. He highlighted such information as the September 2000 documentary on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and the spring 2001 series of articles in the Philadelphia Inquirer that featured children who had been trafficked and were forced to work in absolutely unacceptable conditions. Mr. Morgan commented that in his view “part of the concern that we in industry had was that although these were anecdotal accounts, which we all have to deal with, I think some of the comments on their prevalence, we felt were exaggerated.”
Ms. Roggensack further framed the challenge in the cocoa sector. Research and surveys show that the predominant phenomenon is the engagement of children of families in hazardous work activities on family-owned cocoa farms: carrying heavy loads, spraying hazardous chemicals, and using machetes to open cocoa pods. She noted that this is exacerbated by poverty in this area, and a lack of awareness. “We are talking about a head of household, a parent’s lack of awareness that they are putting their child at risk of harm but over the longer term that they are harming their welfare, their ability to grow and develop.” She added the factor of tradition, the fact that many of the individuals, practically all of them, grew up in the same cultural milieu. This is how it has always been done and there is the notion that there is some value in learning how to do this because this is the child’s future.
What the studies do find, she suggested, is that simply removing children from cocoa farming activities is not necessarily the entire answer. It may lead to displacement, to other activities such as domestic work, or other forms of work that could be equally damaging if not as hazardous to welfare. If not twinned with a quality educational alternative, removing the children is not going to result in the change that you want.
See “About the World Cocoa Foundation” at http://www.worldcocoafoundation.org/about/default.asp.