Olam Cocoa introduces new app to monitor child labour on farms in West African countries

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Olam OFIS technology in use on a Cameroon cocoa farm. Pic: Olam Cocoa
Olam OFIS technology in use on a Cameroon cocoa farm. Pic: Olam Cocoa

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Community leaders will be provided with a smartphone for the first professionalised child labour monitoring and remediation, starting in Cameroon

Olam Cocoa is introducing a new app to its Olam and Farmers Information System (OFIS) technology set to be rolled out across Cameroon, in the first programme of its kind by a cocoa company, designed for child labour monitoring and remediation.

The move forms part of Olam Cocoa’s global commitment to put children first by tackling child labour and helping more children attend school across its entire direct supply chain.

After providing training to community leaders and equipping them with a smartphone, they can begin collecting social data, said Olam Cocoa, which means it is possible to identify children who are at high risk and take action much more quickly.

Its data insights will then feed directly into Olam’s AtSource, a digital platform that gives its customers unprecedented visibility of the supply chain of their products.

Olam Cocoa is working in partnership with the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and local cocoa farming cooperatives to digitally register its nearly 7,000 farmer suppliers in Cameroon and their households, introduce rigorous traceability and reporting systems, educate local communities about child labour, and set up dedicated child labour monitoring and remediation systems (CLMRS) – the first time these measures have been introduced professionally and at scale in Cameroon.

It is estimated that around 20% of school-aged children in Cameroon do not attend school.

Beyond Cameroon, the app will be used to cover nearly 223,000 farmers in three countries across West Africa, prioritising those countries where the risk is highest. Last year, the company launched Cocoa Compass, its sustainability ambition for the future of the cocoa sector, which aims to tackle child labour and help children access education, support cocoa farmers to achieve a living income, protect forests through an increase in tree carbon stock and lower its natural capital costs.

Richa Mittal, Director, supply chain innovation & partnerships at the Fair Labor Association, said: “Olam Cocoa proactively partnered with the FLA to map the working conditions in its smallholder cocoa supply chain in Cameroon in 2019. The FLA team, alongside Olam Cocoa’s local team, engaged government stakeholders, civil society organisations, local community leaders, farmers, workers, and their families to understand the root causes of child labour. The findings informed Olam Cocoa’s development of CLMRS in Cameroon. The FLA will continue to independently monitor and then publicly report on the company’s efforts to improve the conditions for the cocoa farmers and their families in the country​.”

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