A bitter Easter for Ivorian cocoa farmers

21 April 2011

As Easter approaches, following a bitter conflict, there is hope for an end to the political crisis in Cote d’Ivoire, as President Alassane Outtara assumes office.  While a humanitarian emergency in the country remains, it is expected that the export of cocoa – the country’s main crop – will be resumed shortly. VOICE, the European cocoa network of NGOs,  and unions calls upon the cocoa industry to expand and accelerate their efforts for a sustainable cocoa sector – free of the worst forms of child labour.

With the Easter Holidays on the horizon and the resultant increase in chocolate consumption in Europe and the United States, Tulane University has released their latest report on ‘Worst Forms Of Child Labour’ in cocoa production in West Africa. This report shows that there are still major problems in this area. Existing efforts by the chocolate industry to eradicate the worst forms of child labour and extreme poverty are nowhere close to meeting the promises made in the past.

With the export of cocoa expected to resume shortly under the new president, the cocoa industry must not resume ‘business as usual’.  Cocoa buyers and manufacturers, such as Nestlé, Mars, Kraft, Ferrero, Hershey’s, Barry Callebaut, ADM and Cargill have to embrace this opportunity to start creating a transparent supply chain. One that provides a decent livelihood for all persons involved, with the aim to eradicate the worst forms of child labour and extreme poverty amongst cocoa producers throughout the country.

Therefore, VOICE – a network of NGOs and Unions, advocating for change throughout the cocoa sector – calls the industry to finally recognize their social and political responsibility and to take sufficient action in Cote d’Ivoire.

Read the entire press release on the website of the Tropical Commodity Coalition.

Voice of Organizations in Cocoa in Europe advocate for a sustainable change in the Cocoa sector: Oasis, STOP THE TRAFFIK, Oxfam Wereldwinkels, FNV Bondgenoten, Oxfam Novib, Tropical Commodity Coalition, Fairfood International, Südwind Institute and the Berne Declaration.