child labor

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

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.

Sincerely,

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

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

   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.

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 c.r.e.e.r.rci@gmail.com
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. Africa.org

Children working in cocoa industry increases 21%

According to Tulane University's Payson center, 

 "A report just released by the University of Tulane, commissioned by the US Department of Labour, estimates that there are more than 2.1 million child labourers in cocoa-growing across Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire. This represents a 21% increase in the absolute number of child labourers in cocoa, and a 15.5% increase in the prevalence of cocoa-related child labour in cocoa-growing areas, between the selected baseline year of 2008/9 and 2013/4. "

Not good. The situation has gotten WORSE, not better since the the onset of the Harkin Engel Protocol.

Bloomberg picks up story about Hershey Investors Suing over Child Labor

Last fall two law suits came out with decisions that went in favor of the cocoa kids and not in favor of the chocolate companies.  We are happy to see that Bloomberg picked up the following story!  --SFC

Hershey Investors Suing Over Child Labor Can Pursue Files by Jeff Feeley  Bloomberg News

March 19 (Bloomberg) -- Hershey Co., the largest chocolate maker in the U.S., was ordered to face a lawsuit by investors seeking to force it to turn over records about cocoa from African farms that may use illegal child labor. 

A Louisiana pension fund raised legitimate questions about Hershey executives’ knowledge of how much of the company’s cocoa, grown in West Africa, may have been produced by child slaves, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Travis Laster said yesterday. He overruled a master’s recommendation that the shareholders’ request to see cocoa-supply chain records be denied. 

West Africa, including top growers Ghana and Ivory Coast, accounts for about 70 percent of the world’s cocoa-bean production. Pressure to manufacture chocolate without harming children may grow as global sales of sweets head toward a record in 2014 and candy makers process more beans, according to data by Euromonitor International Ltd.  

The suit’s allegations create “a reasonable inference about the possibility” some cocoa Hershey officials bought from Ghana and Ivory Coast suppliers may be tainted by the use of illegal child labor, Laster said at a hearing in Wilmington, Delaware. Those questions may be “sufficient to warrant further investigation,” he said. 

See rest of the article at Bloomberg News