2023-09-11 00:00:00

Cocoa, gold stakeholders take steps to strengthen human rights due diligence

Stakeholders in the cocoa and gold value chain are taking proactive steps to strengthen their operations with the tenants of the Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD), a toolkit to guide their operations. The tool identifies potential risks of human rights issues along the production through to the supply chain, mitigate, respond appropriately, monitor progress and communicate the findings. The sector is enhancing its operations with HRDD, a UN Human Rights Council, endorsed tool to keep up with international best practices and ensure sustainability of their operations. It is being done under a three and half project called Tackling Forced and Child Labour in Ghanaian cocoa and mining (TFCL). Mrs Joyce Poku-Marboah, Senior Project Manager at Rainforest Alliance, who was speaking at a forum in Accra, said as part of the process, over 200 existing human rights tools had been synchronized with the HRDD for implementations. Already, she said, a six-month pilot of the HRDD run by some of the stakeholders in the secto
r was showing signs of children and vulnerable people witnessing increases in socio-economic resilience and being protected against forced Labour and the Worst Forms of Child Labour (WFCL). Mrs Poku-Marboah said it was the goal of the project to raise awareness, engagement and socio-economic resilience of 12,500 vulnerable individuals. It would ensure the uptake and implementation of gender-sensitive best practices and human rights due diligence of 120 selected cocoa cooperatives, companies, and gold mining associations covering over 300,000 members by the end of 2024. The project, she stated, was hoping to strengthen the public sector in improving service delivery for proper accountability and effectiveness. Mr Kwame Osei Boateng, the Country Director of Rainforest Alliance, Ghana/ Nigeria Cocoa, said cocoa contributed about three per cent of Ghana’s gross domestic product and was one of the important commodities for foreign exchange. He stated that the sector provided about two-thirds of cocoa farmers’ i
ncomes and supported the livelihoods of approximately four million farming households. ‘An estimated 1.56 million children are in child labour in Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana. Studies show that most of the children who work on cocoa farms do so within their household or extended family,’ he said. ‘The vast majority of cocoa in West Africa is grown by smallholder farmers. The child menace is complex, and there was the need to tackle it head on.’ Dr Albert Arhin, the Consultant to the TFCL, said some human rights concerns including child labour, lack of fair compensation, health and safety hazards, land disputes and displacement had been flagged in the cocoa and gold mining sectors. He urged stakeholders to commit to the HRDD, which was a comprehensive framework that would enable them to operate in a just and sustainable way. Ghana is the world’s second-largest cocoa-producing country and that commodity is also the mainstay of the country’s economy. About 850,000 farm families spread over these cocoa regions of Gha
na are believed to be involved in cocoa farming and its related activities.

Source: Ghana News Agency