Barry Callebaut, Stakeholders Train 300 Ondo Cocoa Farmers on Elimination of Child Labour
By: Tolulope Oluwole
The Barry Callebaut Nigeria Cocoa and Chocolate Limited (BCNCC) on Tuesday 24th May, 2022 held a sensitization programme to train over 300 Cocoa farmers on how to eliminate child labour in the industry. The programme designed to put an end to child labour took place at Emiloro town hall, near Oda town in Akure South local government area of Ondo State.
Adejola Ahmed, Sustainability Operations Manager, Barry Callebaut Nigeria Cocoa and Chocolate Limited (BCNCC) and Consultant in cocoa farming, pointed out that the organisation and other stakeholders put together the training of the cocoa farmers in order to discourage and create more awareness about danger of child labour in the society.
He said there were ongoing plans to provide more labour for cocoa farmers to prevent them from using their under age children as labour.
Adejola disclosed that similar sensitisation programme would also be held in Ose local government area of Ondo state and Cross river state.
The Manager noted that the company is into chocolate making, “for business to business, for other chocolate industries to use and they also use it for themselves. What brings about this program is that the company noticed that over the years, there’s believe that there is no child labor but later found that there are indicators showing that there is child labor and are in rural areas of Nigeria.
“So we are here to let them know what child labor is in their community. The effect of child labor is that children that are supposed to be in school are found in the house and it leads to social vices and also harms the development of the future of the child and that of the country.
“Before now, our statistics of child labor in cocoa farming is less than 30%, which there is a kind of misconception because children are into other things that are not being classified as child labor which shows that the statistic is wrong. We have about three hundred farmers here and after leaving here, we are going to Ute around Ifon area in Ose local government of Ondo state and also to Cross River for two days each. We are looking at seven hundred farmers in both states but with the turn out here today, we will be looking at one thousand other one thousand two hundred farmers”.
“As a company that has the interest of the farmers at heart, we are looking into giving the farmers opportunity to have labor gang. The farmers will give the labor gangs a little amount of money and it will eliminate tge use of children as well”.
Also speaking, Mr Emmanuel Adaramola, the Executive Director of Emmanuel World Children Foundation, said he was there to tell the farmers on the danger of child labor, what they need to do and why they should not engage their underage children to work on their cocoa farms.
He added that the law states that child labor is any work that is harzadious to the child, any work that is above the capacity of the child, a work that deprives the child from going to school.
“A child can help in a minor task, they can learn from the parents but it should be within the ability, the capacity, the age of the child and the mental health of the child. Statistics shows that there are 40.1 million children engaged in child labor in Nigeria out of 200 million children, Nigeria has the highest rate of child labor.
“Child labour is very dangerous to the children, it can make the children have physical disabilities. The government has laid down some laws for child labor and there are penalties, the government should also enforce the UBE act, the law that ensures that every child must have a compulsory basic education, the government also need to empower the parents, especially the cocoa farmers, they need more of government intention, monitoring and follow up”.
Mr Adebayo Emmanuel Olajide, a farmer said the program was a very fine one, child labour is very bad. “Most farmers use their children because they don’t have laboureres due to lack of finance, and the farm works are very tedious.”
Mr Samuel Akinlolu Adelabu, who is also a cocoa farmer described the programme as a very timely and that they have learnt so many things, the type of cocoa to plant and the measurement. She stressed that the use of underage children as labour is very wrong, adding that they had been educated first at the programme.
Mrs Adebola Adebayo, a cocoa farmer from Akure North local government area of the State said that the programme is very lovely and educative.
While appreciating the organizers, she stressed that using a child for labour is very ridiculous, “some farmers use their underaged children anyhow which is very wrong. A child from 18 and above can still work on the farm.”