International Cocoa Initiative partners with ILO to tackle child labour on cocoa farms

By Oliver Nieburg

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Child labour, International labour organization, Chocolate

Around 1.8m children are working on cocoa related activities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Photo credit: ICI
Around 1.8m children are working on cocoa related activities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. Photo credit: ICI
The International Cocoa Initiative (ICI), has entered a public-private partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to target 5,000 children in child-labour or at high risk of falling into child labour on cocoa farms in West Africa.

ICI is a charitable foundation set-up to eliminate the worst forms of child labour whose members include major confectioners such as Mars, Nestle, Hershey, Ferrero and Kraft/Cadbury.

‘Addressing root causes’

The ILO Cocoa Communities Project will seek to combat child labour in 80 cocoa growing communities in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire in a programme funded by the US Department of Labour.

Nick Weatherill, executive director of ICI, told​: “By addressing the root causes of child labour as well as the symptoms, and by involving all key actors of the sector, the holistic approach of this project will ensure its effectiveness and sustainability, and broaden its impact.

“This new project will continue boosting national efforts in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire around child labour monitoring and humane remediation, serving to identify vulnerable farmers and at-risk children, and deliver the assistance they need to pursue an alternative way of life.”

Almost 820,000 children in Côte d’Ivoire and over 997,000 kids in Ghana were found to be working on cocoa-related activities in 2007/2008, according to Tulane University.

The ILO/ICI project will try to sensitise farmers on child-labour and develop Community Action Plans designed to keep kids in school and out of harmful work.

EU resolution

The new project comes soon after the European Parliament gave its consent to the 2010 International Cocoa Agreement and passed a resolution on child labour in the cocoa sector in March.

The resolution calls on the industry to live up to its responsibilities in helping to tackle the worst forms of child labour on cocoa farms.

Commitments from the industry

Mars and Ferrero have both committed to sourcing 100% of cocoa for chocolate products from certified farms by 2020.

Hershey announced in January it would invest $10m towards sustainable cocoa sourcing in West Africa over the next five years, but set no targets on sourcing from certified farms.

Kraft/Cadbury and Nestle are other major confectioners that have yet to set goals to go 100% certified, although Nestle has allowed the Fair Labor Association (FLA) to investigate whether children are working on cocoa farms supplying its factories.

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We all need to Value the Chocolate we eat.

Posted by Cat Black,

It is hard not to feel powerless as a consumer the other side of the world reading about this abuse. I think one of the few things we can do is to pay more for chocolate and value the chocolate we eat more highly. I have just started a website and blog; aimed at informing about and celebrating the very best in fine chocolate. I hope to raise awareness about the complexity of this food we take for granted. By encouraging people to explore the fine stuff, understand and appreciate it, learn about the best makers, I hope to help an emerging market of small producers who are ethical and valuing the cacao highly. If the industry pays farmers correctly and these initiatives are in place, hopefully change will occur. Then we can all enjoy this glorious food with a clear conscience.

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Child slavery

Posted by rewati,

Everyone loves chocolate. Children eat chocolate every day of the year and enjoy the delicious taste of cocoa, which originate in Africa. But behind the production of their delicious treats, there is another taste altogether: the taste of child abusers and child slavery.
I would like to share a documentary "The Dark Side of Chocolate" which spotlights on child labor and trafficking in West Africa where kids as young as seven years old work illegally in plantations, facing the dangerous job of cutting down and carrying heavy loads of cocoa, without any pay.

To watch the documentary online visit:

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