Indebted Ivory Coast Farmers by Ange Aboa of Rueters Africa

Indebted Ivory Coast cocoa farmers unable to prepare for next season


By Ange Aboa-Reuters Africa


SOUBRE, Ivory Coast Feb 13 (Reuters) - A wave of defaults by cocoa exporters in top producer Ivory Coast has left farmers with unsold beans, indebted and unable to purchase fertiliser and pesticides to prepare their plantations for next season's harvest.

Cocoa has piled up at the ports for weeks and has been left to rot on trees as exporters, having wrongly speculated that world cocoa prices would extend years-long gains, declined to purchase beans to fill unprofitable contracts.

The stocking of beans, often in poor conditions, is already likely to have a negative impact on quality for the current harvest. But the financial pressure on farmers and cooperatives is set to have a knock-on effect for the 2017/18 season which will open in October.

"Right now I'm not interested in buying fertiliser or other products. I don't even have 1,000 francs in my pocket in order to eat, so how could I think of that?" said Ali Diabate, 58, who farms six hectares near the town of Soubre in the southwest.

Of 23 farmers interviewed last week across Ivory Coast's western cocoa heartland, none said they planned to invest in fertiliser or pesticides.

The Ivorian government introduced a forward sales system in 2012 allowing it to set a minimum price for farmers with the primary aim of encouraging growers to reinvest in their plantations.

Farmer incomes had steadily risen in line with world prices. However, as the system has broken down this season causing a glut of cocoa and fewer buyers, many farmers have failed to sell their crops while others have been forced to accept less than the 1,100 CFA francs ($1.79) per kg dictated by the government.

Many farmers are now saddled with debt, and farmer cooperatives, which typically distribute fertiliser and other products to their members, are struggling as well.

All 18 co-op directors interviewed by Reuters said they would be unable to help their members prepare their plantations for next season.

"We don't have any money. We haven't even paid for last year's fertiliser because of this situation and our suppliers won't take credit this year," Germain Kabore, who manages a co-op near the town of Daloa, told Reuters.

Across western Ivory Coast, shops selling fertiliser and pesticides have largely closed due to a lack of customers.

"All the stock I've had from January is still there. I haven't sold a single box or bag of fertiliser. It's all still there. No one is coming to buy," said Mamadou Keita, who runs a shop in the town of Soubre.

($1 = 615.9500 CFA francs) (Writing by Joe Bavier; editing by Jason Neely)

© Thomson Reuters 2017 All rights reserved

Labeling saw suits fail to get traction.

The law suit that was dismissed is the the big important Doe vs. Nestlé that is going back to trial in the 9th District.

This is actually 3 separate class action law suits alleging the companies should have disclosed that child slavery is used to harvest their beans on the chocolate bar labels. The court through it out because it doesn't consider itself to have jurisdiction over labeling. 

Culpability still exists. This was only about labeling.

Nestle, Hershey Class Action Child Slavery Lawsuit Dismissed

A California federal judge dismissed two class actions against Nestle USA Inc. and Hershey Co. alleging that the companies should disclose on their packaging that their cocoa beans are harvested by child slaves. A similar class action against Mars Inc. was dismissed by another judge in February of this year. Read More




Nestlé, Cargill, and ADM lose opportunity of the Supreme Court to review their case.

What the following article means is this: The Supreme Court refused to review the suit. They only review a small fraction of what is sent to them, so it is no surprise and was most likely a stall tactic from the Nestlé side. Now this suit get thrown back to the 9th Circuit where it will be in process of going to trail. Basically, the US Supreme Court doesn't review until it has to, and it left it to the 9th Circuit to continue. 

Nestle Loses Bid For High Court Review In Child Slavery Suit
By Joe Van Acker

Law360, New York (January 11, 2016, 3:44 PM ET) -- The U.S. Supreme Court revealed Monday that it will not hear a bid by Nestle USA Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Cargill Incorporated Co. to overturn a decision allowing former child slaves to proceed with their suit accusing the companies of propping up a torturous chattel system to get cheap African cocoa.

In their petition to the high court, Nestle and the others claimed that the Ninth Circuit interpreted the Alien Tort Statute too broadly when it allowed the suit to proceed in 2014, arguing that the statute’s aiding-and-abetting provisions only apply to businesses that intentionally break the rules.

However, Nestle maintained on Monday that the law is on its side and said that it looks forward to proceeding to the merits of the case.

“The use of child labor is unacceptable and goes against everything Nestle stands for,” the company said in a statement. “Nestle is committed to following and respecting all international laws and is dedicated to the goal of eradicating child labor from our cocoa supply chain.”

Facing off against the corporate defendants are three unnamed Malian laborers looking to certify a class covering thousands of other children who were trafficked from their homeland to Cote d'Ivoire to harvest cocoa beans that were later used in the companies’ products.

Nestle uses the beans for candy bars and other products, while ADM and Cargill process them into cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, chocolate and other goods, according to court filings.

In their 2005 complaint, the John Does alleged that they underwent a harrowing ordeal that began when they were taken as early as age 12 and forced to start working on cocoa plantations, where they remained for years, subject to whippings, meager provisions and mutilation at the hands of their captors.

Five years into the suit, U.S. District Judge Stephen V. Wilson granted the companies’ motion to dismiss, finding that a corporate agent can be sued under the Alien Tort Statute but a corporation itself cannot, prompting an appeal from the former slaves.

The Ninth Circuit said that, after essentially lying dormant for 200 years, the ATS was given new life in 1980 by a Second Circuit ruling allowing two Paraguayan citizens to sue a police officer from that country who tortured and killed their son.

That case eventually reached the Supreme Court, which held that the law provides U.S. federal courts with jurisdiction to hear hybrid common law-international law tort claims.

Based on that decision, and the fact that private citizens faced slavery claims during the Nuremberg Trials after the Holocaust, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the global prohibition of slavery provides victims with legal recourse against anyone, not just state actors.

After Nestle, Cargill and ADM petitioned the Supreme Court for a review of that decision, the former slaves said the companies’ appeal was premature because they intend to amend their complaint as Judge Wilson allowed, and because the Ninth Circuit simply said their allegations were sufficient to proceed.

Paul Hoffman, an attorney for the former slaves, told Law360 that he was “pleased” that the Supreme Court didn’t take the case.

“We and our clients are very pleased that the court is allowing our case to go forward,” he said.

In a statement of its own, Cargill told Law360 that like Nestle, it was disappointed that the petition was denied but eager for the case to begin in earnest.

You'll Never Look at Chocolate the Same

This article was written by Lex Talamo for the Shreveport Times.  It references the Payson Center. The Payson Center is part of Tulane University.  When the Harkin Engel Protocol was signed in 2001 by the chocolate companies, the US Department of Labor hired The Payson Center to write 4 reports on the progress.  In a sense they were the watchdogs of the Protocol.  Each report delivered grim news regarding progress.  After the final report, the Department of Labor kept using the Payson center.  Last year they reported that the situation had gotten worse.  


"During the course of a day, children as young as five years old could be expected to wield sharp instruments such as machetes, carry heavy loads and work during the night or up to 100 hours a week. Other hazardous working conditions included land clearing  or being exposed to agro-chemicals like pesticides or fertilizers.  Read the rest of the article HERE



Letter to Oprah Winfrey

Hi Oprah,

My name is Ayn Riggs and I am the founder and director of Slave Free Chocolate.  We are a small group of people working as activists to eradicate the use of Worst Forms of Child Labor and Child Slavery in the cocoa industry.

I heard in the news that your 2015 list of the your favorite things is out and one item on the list is the Signature Turtle Basket from Phillips Chocolate in Boston.  As I am sure, on the surface, this is a lovely and tasteful product but it seem strange that on organization of your size that has done so many positive things, would not be aware that the chocolate in this gift basket is tied to the Worst Forms of Child Labor and Child Trafficking and Child Slavery.

It is hard to imagine that you would condone this kind of thing.  So on the outset that you didn't know, I invite you to read through the Slave Free Chocolate website.  

Please feel free to contact us to further discuss how you can help change this terrible situation.


Ayn Riggs, Director, Slave Free Chocolate, 760-715-4618


   Two billion dollars will be spent on candy for Halloween.   Awareness of this situation has come a long long way but the numbers of children working under the "worst forms of child labor" and children trafficked to work as slaves on the cocoa farms has risen.  These kids need the help of the western consumers now more than ever.  Vote with your voice. Vote with your dollar.  Demand that Hershey's, Nestlé, Cargill, ADM and the rest make good on their promises of 2001 and remedy this situation.  The money is there, the law suits are going, Ghana and Ivory Coast are more stable. Now is the time.  Let's win this war against modern day slavery.


Two billion dollars will be spent on candy for Halloween.   Awareness of this situation has come a long long way but the numbers of children working under the "worst forms of child labor" and children trafficked to work as slaves on the cocoa farms has risen.  These kids need the help of the western consumers now more than ever.  Vote with your voice. Vote with your dollar.  Demand that Hershey's, Nestlé, Cargill, ADM and the rest make good on their promises of 2001 and remedy this situation.  The money is there, the law suits are going, Ghana and Ivory Coast are more stable. Now is the time.  Let's win this war against modern day slavery.

Class Action Law Suit Directed at Chocolate Companies

We will be reporting more on this in the future.  This is not the same law suit as Doe. VS. Nestlé, Cargill and ADM.  

This was reported in the Court House News Service by NICHOLAS IOVINO 

Chocolate Giants Face Slave Labor Lawsuits


SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - Three of the nation's largest chocolate companies - Mars, Nestle and Hershey - get cocoa from suppliers that use child slave labor, customers claimed Monday in three federal class actions.
     All three lawsuits, filed by Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, claim the candy giants "turn a blind eye" to human rights abuses by cocoa suppliers in West Africa while falsely portraying themselves as socially and ethically responsible.
     "America's largest and most profitable food conglomerates should not tolerate child labor, much less child slave labor, anywhere in their supply chains," the complaints state.
     They accuse the companies of false advertising and violations of California business and consumer laws. All the plaintiffs claim they would not have bought the defendants' chocolate had they known it was produced with child slave labor.
     All cite the defendants' corporate responsibility statements, including Hershey's declaration that it has "zero tolerance for the worst forms of child labor in its supply chain."
     Lead plaintiff Elaine McCoy claims Nestle has publicly embraced protection of human rights as one of its core business principles, but fails to live up to it or to disclose the truth to customers.

For the rest of the article CLICK HERE

C.R.E.E.R. Africa is looking for an intern.

Duration: Four months minimum.
Location: Abengourou, Moyen-Comoe, Cote d'Ivoire
Your role will be different, this is a chance to sow the seeds for the start of this centre. You can really make an impact. Depending on your skill set and experience, volunteers at C.R.E.E.R can take on a variety of roles and responsibilities. You will have an Outreach Worker living on site with you.
We're looking for our 2nd Coordinator with ideas, drive & initiative for our NGO; after four years of preparation, C.R.E.E.R is finally starting! Our current Coordinator is doing a fantastic job but will sadly be leaving us!
You might be wanting a change in life or a post-graduate student looking to get some experience; it could give someone the chance to write a thesis at the same time.
We are working to prevent young girls and boys from being trafficked into exploitative working conditions. We're offering a shelter to rehabilitate those children who have escaped their situation & living on the streets.
We will be providing education, vocational training, shelter, protection, community outreach, and youth leadership training to at-risk individuals and communities.
We are always open to new ideas and projects that utilize volunteers' unique strengths and creativity! This position is ideal for someone with long-term goals or interests related to alternative education, nonprofit administration, communications and media, child protection, or human trafficking prevention.
Your role which will take about 2-3h per day may include:
• Coordinating finances & administration on site
• Facilitating extracurricular activities with the children
• Producing and coordinating social media and communications,blog and newsletter
• Photography and/or videography for social media
• Writing grant reports and proposals
• Actively fundraising and marketing
• Meeting dignitaries & receiving visitors, possibly giving presentations on the organisation
• Attending events and meetings
• Helping in other areas based on your skill set, such as DIY
• Directly reporting to the Founder & Ivoirian Board; on site & off site
Preferred Experience:
• Background, coursework, or demonstrated interest in issues of child protection, statelessness, gender inequality, nonprofit administration, and/or international development
• Outstanding communication and organizational skills
• Ability to work independently and proactively identify solutions to problems
• Ability to work in a cross-cultural environment and navigate language and cultural barriers
• Flexibility, patience, and adaptability
• Ability to manage a wide array of tasks and priorities
• Excellent spoken and written English or French but with a reasonable spoken profiency in both
• Sense of humor and a positive attitude
Preferred qualifications:
• Teaching/Social work experience and/or experience working with children and young people
• Experience in a developing country
• Experience volunteering and/or working for a nonprofit or NGO
• Experience in an office environment and/or in administration
• Bilingual English/French language skills a major plus
If you've read this far & are still interested in applying, please e-mail us a cover letter explaining what you are able to offer us along with your CV to
Compensation details
C.R.E.E.R does not provide any salary or living stipend to volunteers, nor do we charge any fees to volunteer with us.
Volunteers must be able to fund their flight, visa, transportation & living costs but you will have a room to live in (although fairly basic at this early stage)
A motorbike is provided to get around town (shared with Outreach Worker).
Volunteers should be able to finance their stay with private fundraising and grants.
[8/30/15, 8:46:31 AM] Anglais Aerien Afrique: Volunteer Coordinator
Chance to sow the seeds at a new rehabilitation centre for street & trafficked children.
 Côte d'Ivoire

Contact Chole Grant for more information.  You can find contact information at C.R.E.E.R.

Nestlé tackles PR troubles and publicly promises change.

Nestlé announced that their KitKat bars in Japan are going to only have ethically sourced cocoa.  This comes right off of the report that the the amount of children working in the cocoa fields of West Africa has risen from 1.8 million to 2.3 since it was last reported.


Child labour on Nestlé farms: chocolate giant's problems continue

Auditors completing their annual report continue to find evidence of child labour on Ivory Coast farms supplying Nestlé

Children younger than 15 continue to work at cocoa farms connected to Nestlé, more than a decade after the food company promised to end the use of child labour in its supply chain.

A new report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA), commissioned by Nestlé, saw researchers visit 260 farms used by the company in Ivory Coast from September to December 2014. The researchers found 56 workers under the age of 18, of which 27 were under 15.

               The rest of the article on The Guardian