Anno 2021 child slavery and child labour is still a tough problem among cocoa farmers. Children from 4 up to 16 years old work on cocoa farms. Cocoa farmers work with children, not because they do not care about the future of children. But simply because cocoa farming is not machine work, but intensive handwork, which they cannot do alone. They need a lot of help and there is no money to hire skilled employees.
Which children work on farms?
We hear a lot about child labour, but you hardly hear who these children are. There are different reasons for children to work on cocoa farms. Sometimes farmers can send one of his children to go to child, so the other children must work on the farm. But not always it is the children of the farmers who work on the farms. Children can lose both their parents in war or diseases, so they become orphans. They work on farms just to earn some money to eat and have shelter.
“Sometimes cocoa farmers can send only one of his children to school”
Why can’t cocoa farmers solve child labour problem?
Cocoa farmers often must borrow money to buy fertilizers, tools and pay personal to harvest the beans. After they have sold their beans, they must pay of the loan. So, the little money that is left over is to feed the family until next season. So, the new season they start with not enough money to harvest the beans. And a vicious circle is born.
“Cocoa farmers often must borrow money to buy fertilizers”
What is the solution to end child slavery and child labour?
A lot of times you hear the industry should solve the problem of child labour on cocoa farms. Even Nestlé has brought to the court for it. But industry cannot solve the solution. It is the farmers him-/herself who must solve the problem. Farmers need the tools they become independent entrepreneurs and have direct access to buyers.
What I think is the solution?
Problems cannot be solved when the ones it concerns are not involved. In this case cocoa farmers. It is simple, farmers are responsible of there business and they do feel responsible. It is important that farmers get the tools to become succesfull indepent entrepeneurs!