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Friday, 11 May 2012

EP Fair Trade Group raises awareness of cocoa child labour

The CTA-Brussels Office has been reporting on the latest developments in recent months at the European Parliament concerning chocolate production and trade.  In March, the European Parliament followed the advice of INTA Committee and gave its consent to renew the International Cocoa Agreement. Likewise, it took the opportunity to raise awareness of the problem of child labour and child trafficking in the sector. Moreover, rapporteur Vital Moreira stated that both policymakers and stakeholders involved in cocoa production had to live up to their responsibility to eradicate child labour in cocoa production.  This week, the EP hosted an event highlighting the issue of the use of child labour on cocoa farms and called upon consumers to buy Fair Trade.  Participants at the event were shown a special film by CNN about child labour on West African cocoa farms, where tens of thousands of children are involved in backbreaking and sometimes dangerous work.
In the words of MEP Linda McAvan, the main supporter of the event in her role of Chair of the European Parliament’s Fairtrade Group: : "It is too simple to blame the farmers in West Africa. Many of them live in poverty themselves and are seeing their small margins squeezed. The price paid to farmers for cocoa has fallen 30% in recent years. We need the big western chocolate companies who buy most of the cocoa from places like West Africa, and who make substantial profits, to look again at their supply chains and work with us to ensure farmers are paid a decent, predictable income for their cocoa and to stamp out child labour.”

Source: Lindamcavanmep/CTA Brussels Office