Topic: Africa/French Africa

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🔗 Child Labour in Cocoa Production

🔗 Africa 🔗 Africa/Ghana 🔗 Food and drink 🔗 Africa/Ivory Coast 🔗 Africa/French Africa

Child labour is a recurring issue in cocoa production. Cote d’Ivoire (also known in English as Ivory Coast) and Ghana, together produce nearly 60% of the world's cocoa each year. During the 2018/19 cocoa-growing season, research commissioned by the U.S. Department of Labor was conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago in these two countries and found that 1.48 million children are engaged in hazardous work on cocoa farms including working with sharp tools and agricultural chemicals and carrying heavy loads. That number of children is significant, representing 43 percent of all children living in agricultural households in cocoa growing areas. During the same period cocoa production in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana increased 62 percent while the prevalence of child labour in cocoa production among all agricultural households increased 14 percentage points. Attention on this subject has focused on West Africa, which collectively supplies 69% of the world's cocoa, and Côte d'Ivoire, supplying 35%, in particular. The 2016 Global Estimates of Child Labour indicate that one-fifth of all African children are involved in child labour. Nine percent of African children are in hazardous work. It is estimated that more than 1.8 million children in West Africa are involved in growing cocoa. A 2013–14 survey commissioned by the Department of Labor and conducted by Tulane University found that an estimated 1.4 million children aged 5 years old to 11 years old worked in agriculture in cocoa-growing areas, while approximately 800,000 of them were engaged in hazardous work, including working with sharp tools and agricultural chemicals and carrying heavy loads. According to the NORC study, methodological differences between the 2018/9 survey and earlier ones, together with errors in the administration of the 2013/4 survey have made it challenging to document changes in the number of children engaged in child labour over the past five years.

A major study of the issue, published in Fortune magazine in the U.S. in March 2016, concluded that approximately 2.1 million children in West Africa "still do the dangerous and physically taxing work of harvesting cocoa". The report was doubtful as to whether the situation can be improved significantly.

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