THE management of Ghana COCOBOD says it suspects a calculated attempt by powerful forces to undermine Ghana’s effort at producing cocoa to the benefit of her citizens.
This follows a report carried by Doha based international media network, Aljazeera, which sought to portray Ghana as using children, as young as four years, to work on cocoa farms.
This claim has, however, been denied by the farmers, saying it was stage managed for the cameras.
According to COCOBOD management, the report cannot be true and has, therefore, led a team of journalists to hold a durbar with the Ohiampenika community, in Amenfi West District of the Western region, where the report emanated from and explained to them the attempts being made to undermine cocoa production in Ghana.
The Director of Special Services at Ghana COCOBOD, Charles Amenyaglo, told the community
that his outfit does not condone the use of children on cocoa farms and that they have always been vociferous about that.
“We are looking at what has happened as a strategy to kill Ghana cocoa industry and we will not allow this to go unmentioned. There is a deliberate strategy to harm Ghana’s cocoa production,” he said, after the community had told him about their side of the story, aired by Aljazeera.
He added that with Spain and China producing cocoa, the intention was to undermine Ghana’s efforts in producing cocoa and to project theirs.
The Director of Special Services, therefore,pleaded with those involved in the Aljazeera report to cooperate with COCOBOD in its investigations.
They should also not hesitate to honor invitation by the Police since using children as young as four years to work on cocoa farms is a crime in Ghana.
The chiefs and people of Ohiampenika on their part denied the Aljazeera report.
In the said report, Ghana is accused of failing to end the fight against child labour on cocoa farms, citing the Ohiampenika community as an example.
However, at the durbar with COCOBOD officials, the chief and people of the community denied the report.
The chief of the community, Nana Kofi Gyan, explained that on November 13, 2022 which was a Sunday, they received the Aljazeera crew who introduced themselves as COCOBOD officials.
The crew, according to the chief, said they were in the community to help them and first asked them to list their most pressing needs as a cocoa growing community, so that they could forward them to the government for immediate attention.
Happy with the news, the chief went on to list needs such as clinic, school, electricity and cocoa pension fund amongst many others, as most pressing needs his community would want the government to address.
The chief continued that, after listing their pressing needs, the crew then asked them (community) to send them (crew) to their various cocoa farms together with their children.
He said, since it was a Sunday and the children were all in church at the time, they had to go and bring out the children, changed their cloths and took them to the farms to act, as the crew had directed them to do.
Ibrahim Asana, who was captured in the Aljazeera report working on the farm with his children, told officials of COCOBOD and Journalists at the durbar that, he was asked to stage the event where the children were seen carrying cocoa pods.
He said, since he did not know the crew was shooting a video on child labor, he also gave in to the demand of the crew.
“I am very angry when the cameras captured me and my children working on my cocoa farm,” he said.
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