Leading global food manufacturer, Nestle S.A, has expressed its readiness to pay cocoa farmers in West Africa and elsewhere to keep their children in school instead of using them as child labourers.
Following child labour backlash, Nestle proposes to pay African cocoa farmers to keep their kids in school.
It is understood that Nestle’s resolution followed a series of backlash that chocolate makers have faced in recent times, for knowing or inadvertently encouraging child labour through the use of cocoa beans farmed/processed by children.
Various groups, including customers, investors and even governments have expressed displeasure over this trend which is most common in West Africa. As you may well know, Ivory Coast and Ghana are among the region’s leading cocoa producers. And farmers are known to use their children as labourers, thus keeping them away from school.
Nestle’s new income accelerator initiative will take care of this issue by addressing the income gap problem which forces most farmers to use their children as labourers. Addressing this issue would also help Nestle to ensure that all of its cocoa beans are purchased through ethically sourced means.
Commenting on the development, Nestle’s Chief Executive Officer, Mark Schneider, explained that the new initiative “focuses on the root causes for child labour and the living income gap farmers and their families face”.
n the meantime, the initiative has received a nod of approval from notable figures such as the Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Patrick Achi. He described the initiative as a welcome development, stressing that “we must at all costs and by all means deal with the root cause of the ills on which we all agree, which is the income of the farming population”.
Do note that farmers can only qualify to receive payment from Nestle if it has been certified that they’ve enrolled their children in schools. Other factors will also be considered.