KUAPA Kokoo Limited, a licensed cocoa buying company (LBC), has launched an anti-child labour programme aimed at eliminating the worst forms of child labour in cocoa production within its operational area.
The company currently operates in the Ashanti, Brong Ahafo, Eastern, Western and Central regions.
The past decade witnessed concerns being raised about the possible use of child labour in the cocoa producing areas of West Africa.
Indeed, cocoa consuming countries threatened to boycott cocoa from producer countries found to be engaged in the worst forms of child labour.
It was to prevent any such sanctions that Kuapa Kokoo took up the initiative to institute the programme.
At the launch of the programme in Kumasi on Monday, the Managing Director of the company, Mr Kwasi Aduse-Poku, said the company realised that to maintain fair trade certification and continue to uphold its set values and standards, it was important that steps were taken to mitigate the negative action of child labour from its operations.
Mr Aduse-Poku said a special unit had been formed in the company to work to address issues arising from child labour and the worst forms of child labour.
He expressed the determination of Kuapa Kokoo to support the government to achieve its target of producing one million metric tonnes of cocoa by 2010 and also ensure that Ghana’s international consumers removed any doubts with respect to the worst forms of child labour.
In a speech read on his behalf by the Ashanti Regional Co-ordinating Director, Mr S.O. Kusi-Appiah, the Regional Minister, Mr Kofi Opoku-Manu, said much as efforts were needed to improve cocoa production by getting the people into farming, nothing should be done to engage children in hazardous farming practices.
He mentioned the laws the government had enacted to protect children and said they must be adhered to in order to protect the image of Ghana.
The Kumasi Asokwahene, Nana Fe Bamoah, who deputised for the Asantehemaa, Nana Afia Kobi Serwaa Ampem, to chair the occasion, described child labour as a canker that must be uprooted in all spheres of national life.
He said the Asantehemaa was happy that Kuapa Kokoo had taken a lead role in attacking the problem.