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15 Apr 2020

The New York Times

Child labour increases over the decade on cocoa farms in Ivory Coast & Ghana, alleges report

‘Child Labour Still Prevalent in West Africa Cocoa Sector Despite Industry Efforts: Report’ 9 April 2020

The use of child labour on cocoa farms in top producers Ivory Coast and Ghana has risen over the past decade despite industry promises to reduce it, according to a draft of a U.S. government-sponsored report seen by Reuters. More than 2 million children worked in the sector last season in the West African countries that produce about two-thirds of the world's cocoa, according to the draft of a report funded by the U.S. Department of Labor. It is expected to be published later this month.

…Ghana cocoa regulator Cocobod spokesman Fifi Boafo rejected the report's findings. "Cocobod has registered its disagreement with the findings of the report," he said. "We believe the methodology used (was) wrong just as how some questions were framed."… Richard Scobey, the head of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF), an industry group that represents companies including Nestle and Hershey, acknowledged that the industry was not on track to meet its target set in 2010. But he said the report was not complete and he could not yet comment.

Nestle referred Reuters to the WCF. Mars and Hershey both said it was too early to discuss the report. Cargill did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The report, conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago, is the third in a series of surveys of cocoa farmers called for by an agreement between the industry and U.S. lawmakers first struck in 2001. It was based on a survey of more than 2,000 households.