The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo, has cautioned cocoa farmers to be vigilant and alert the management of the COCOBOD before granting any interviews, especially to foreigners.
This comes following a report by Al Jazeera on the use of child labour in cocoa farms.
In a report, Al Jazeera, stated that the use of child labour, has increased in cocoa farms in Ghana during the past decade despite industry promises to reduce it.
According to the report, the prevalence of children doing hazardous work, including using sharp tools, has also gone up in the world’s top two cocoa producers, according to a study funded by the United States government.
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But speaking on the matter on Atinka TV’s morning show, Ghana Nie with Ama Gyenfa Ofosu Darkwa, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo said the report was false.
Nobody in Ghana would send their 4-year-old child to a cocoa farm to pluck cocoa, he said, adding that he was saddened by the photos.
Nonetheless, he noted that Ghana has its own cultural values that differ from those of foreigners, adding that it was very normal to send your child to help with domestic chores.
Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo said even when a child between the ages of 16 and 17 is sent to fetch water near a cocoa farm, they perceive it as child labour.
Unfortunately, he said when you explain that to the foreigners, they refuse to understand it and still term it as child labour.
“We have values we use to train our children so they will grow up to be better people, but when you explain them to the whites, they do not understand.” “We also noticed that some of our own people take pictures and send them to the foreigners and tell them that the child labour issue that COCOBOD is going to discuss is a lie and that child labour is still ongoing,” he fumed.
Touching on the said report and the images used, he was of the view that the reporter went there one Sunday and called a family to the farm to pose for the pictures that were used, stressing that the report was false.
Meanwhile, Mr. Joseph Boahen Aidoo expressed worry over the issue, saying that due to that, when they send cocoa to the foreigners, they do not want to buy it because they feel the farmers used child labour to gather the beans.
“That is why I am advising farmers that if any media personnel come to you — not all of them are bad, but the unscrupulous media personnel who will come — and they have no affection for the nation but are only interested in money, I am pleading with the farmers that when they come, alert us at COCOBOD immediately,” he said.
He continued, “I want to caution all cocoa farmers that the photos the people take are just to destroy our image, so they have to be careful.” “When they come, they claim they will do something for you, but they will not, it is not true.”
Ghana| Atinkaonline.com| Porcia Oforiwaa Ofori