The biggest contributor to child labour and human trafficking is extreme poverty
The main reason young boys are trafficked and farmers use child labour in cocoa growing is because the farmers are not earning sufficient to have a living income. A living income is the amount needed for basic housing, food and essentials; plus, small unforeseen expenses. It will also allow families to send their children to school.
We think chocolate companies and producers have a responsibility to seriously address the key issues that contribute to children being trafficked to work on cocoa farms. Large global chocolate companies and producers hold a lot of power within the industry, much more so than the cocoa farmers and farmer co-ops in places like Côte d'Ivoire, West Africa, which is the largest producer of cocoa in the world.
The programs of chocolate companies and others have focussed on training in better farming techniques and management as a way to increase farmers' incomes. This has contributed to an overall increase in yield of 15%. However, the price of cocoa has dropped 30-40%. This leaves the farmers worse off.
According to a study in the region US$10.86 was needed per working day to have a living income. In another study it was estimated that Cocoa growers in Cote d’Ivoire earn US$0.91 per day per person in the household! No-one is exactly sure but most experts say an increase of three times what farmers are currently paid for the cocoa would get them close to a living income. Not even the current floor prices and premiums offered by certifiers get farmers close to what we think a living income is.
You tell us not to use our children to help on our farmers and then you tell us you are going to pay us 40% less for our cocoa – how does that work?
We are not bad parents, we are just trying to survive.
Cocoa farming families
We are campaigning for the big global chocolate and producer companies, to uphold a living income through the innovation of programs, premiums and processes.