Today, June 12, 2012, as Ghana joins the rest of the world to mark World Day against Child labour, the Ghana Cocoa Board humbly appeals to all parents and guardians, particularly in the cocoa industry, to soberly reflect into the future of their children and wards. The contemporary world is facing the greatest challenge of relying on human resource potential to convert the limited available natural resources to promote sustainable growth and development. Sustainable growth is indicated by food security, high life-expectancy, good health and economic and social wellbeing of citizens as measured by the Human Development Index.
The future human resource base of Ghana resides in the Ghanaian children of today. It suffices, therefore, that our children are the key source from which talents can be unearthed to champion the course of sustainable development.
The talents we seek to unearth and nurture their progress in preparation to assume the leadership of future Ghana can be secured through uninterrupted education with the combined efforts of parents and teachers. Ghana will certainly derail the course of its future development if parents and guardians fail to respond positively to the campaign to enroll all children in schools and show commitment towards their progress.
For these important reasons, COCOBOD wishes to entreat all cocoa farmers and caretakers to avoid the use of children under 18-years in hazardous work on their farms. Children must not be engaged in work that interferes with their education, affects their health, morality, safety and natural development. As custodians, we are obliged to guide our children to realize their potential to become the responsible adults of tomorrow.
This responsibility is not negotiable. Parents and guardians must, therefore, join in this campaign against worst forms of child labour and ensure that children go through the normal developmental process of childhood and lay the foundations for safer adulthood in dignity, contributing meaningfully to national development under decent working conditions.
Cocoa production without child labour is one of the key principles to achieving a sustainable cocoa industry. Farmers are advised, therefore, to adopt ethical labour practices by engaging adults only to work on their farms to guarantee increased labour productivity in the cocoa industry and give children the required care and resources to make them grow to become responsible citizens.
The laws of Ghana prohibit the use of children in exploitative work, child trafficking, among others. The Ghana Cocoa Board remains committed to collaborating with the relevant authorities to achieve child labour free cocoa industry and also ensure that people engaged in these criminal acts are apprehended and prosecuted.
We urge all stakeholders, particularly cocoa farmers and licensed buying companies, who interface directly with the farmers to work together towards the common goal of realizing child labour free cocoa industry.
Long live the cocoa industry of Ghana!