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16.01.2005 Regional News

WACAP expresses worry about children working in cocoa farms

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Nyinahin (Ash), Jan 16, GNA-Mr Mohammed Abu Baka, Focal Person of West Africa Cocoa and Agricultural Project (WACAP) in the Atwima district, has stated that a survey conducted by the International Institution of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) revealed that 284,000 children in West Africa were engaged on cocoa farms.

He said the engagement is in the form of asking the children to clear cocoa farms using machetes, which most often injured them. He said apart from injury being sustained by the children, it also prevents most of them from attending school.

Mr Baka disclosed this to the GNA at Nyinahin after a two-day workshop for WACAP supervisors, monitors and focal persons. He expressed dissatisfaction about the trend, saying, WACAP is very much concerned about adopting strategies for reduction and possible elimination of the trend since it was against the rights of children and amounted to child labour.

Mr Baka said as part of its efforts at eliminating the trend, WACAP had embarked on a project to identify children who work under hazardous conditions, including work on cocoa farms.

Such children when located, he said, would be withdrawn and assisted to pursue formal education or trained in various vocational skills that would enable them to eventually become employable or self-employed at an adult age.

Mr Baka called on parents to co-operate with the WACAP since the success of the project would largely depend on the co-operation of parents and guardians.

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