Forced labour continues to plaque the cocoa industry and poses serious challenge to the survival of the industry and wellbeing of farmers, especially women and children.
It is under this premise that, one-week training was organized in Koforidua from 9th to 13th October 2023 for selected Executives of Farmer Cooperative in the Hohoe Kpeve Cocoa District.
Ms. Juliana Yempew, the Vice Chairperson of Nkonya Wurupong Yonkodor Cooperative Cocoa Farming and Marketing Ltd was a beneficiary of this training.
The training was organized by Rainforest Alliance in partnership with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) and Solidaridad to implement a project dubbed,“Tackling forced and child labour in Ghanaian cocoa and gold mining” with funding from the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD).
As ToT, Ms. Juliana Yempew is expected to impact the knowledge she has acquired to colleague farmer cooperatives within the Nkonya Area and other areas in the Hohoe Kpeve Cocoa District when called upon.
Ms. Juliana Yempew was given the platform to share with farmers of the Nkonya Wurupong Cooperative Cocoa Farmers in Nkonya Wurupong.
Beginning her presentation, Ms. Yempew used the opportunity to thank the management of Hohoe Kpeve Cocoa District, more specifically the DCO, Mr. Derrick Alarbi-Donkor, the DEC, Mr. Kingsley Nyasem and team for honour and confidence reposed in her.
She added that the goal of the training was to “collaborate to address child labour, forced labour and gender inequality in cocoa supply chain and gold mining communities in Ghana. Thus, the training has provided them (ToTs) with free tool kits and training to prevent, identify, and address child labour, and forced labour, taking into account the situation and risks of women and men, girls and boys.
Ms. Yempew quoted “1 out of 5 children (20%) are in Child Labour in Ghana, 14.2% of them in worst form of child labour and 60% of children not going to school are in child labour” according to National Plan of Action Phase II (NPA 2(2017-2021). There are conventions against the following types of child labour : children under-age for labour (Convention 138), hazardous work( Convention 182) and worst forms of child labour (Convention 183)."
She added that, according to the Children Act 1998, children under age 12 and below- can socialize with work; children at age 13 –can do light work and children at age 15-17- can do regular, non-hazardous work. She gives examples of hazardous work including clearing forest, felling trees, removing tree stumps, bush burning, exposure to agrochemicals, being in the vicinity during spraying of agrochemicals, using machetes in pruning. Breaking pods with sharp knives, working without adequate basic food and clothing and their likes. Examples of non-hazardous works include making shed to provide shade for seedlings, weeding/brushing undergrowth with sua-ado cutlass, plucking pods, breaking pods with mallet, carrying appropriate load, gathering harvested pods and the likes. Examples of light work include filling plastic bags with soil, picking and gathering cocoa pods, counting pods, fetching water for spraying and leaving before spraying commences, helping in cooking food and the likes.
Ms. Yempew further talked about forced labour. She stated that the various types of forced labour include Child forced labour; human trafficking; forced labour (migrant workers); debt bondage; domestic servitude (forced house helps) and forced marriages.
She added that there is the need for gender equality promotion within the cocoa communities and to ensure discrimination against minority groups such as women and children are protected.
Over 70 cocoa farmers belonging to the Nkonya Wurupong Cooperative Cocoa Farmers attended the gathering.