Cargill partnership aims to combat child labour

Food and agriculture company Cargill has partnered with the International Cocoa Initiative (ICI) to expand their joint actions on child labour in Cote d’Ivoire.

The two organisations are now establishing a monitoring system in Cargill’s cocoa supply chain to identify and protect children involved in child labour. The model for child labour prevention and response, called Child Labour Monitoring and Remediation System (CLMRS), allows Cargill to go “a step further” in its efforts to eradicate child labour and is based on best practices developed by ICI.

The system will be embedded in the monitoring and evaluation programme for the Cargill Cocoa Promise, the company’s responsible and sustainable cocoa programme, and will be piloted this year in eight farmer cooperatives in Cote d’Ivoire reaching nearly 7,000 cocoa farming households. The system will help Cargill identify and understand incidences of child labour so that appropriate remediation activities can be undertaken.

“At Cargill, we recognise that we cannot tackle child labour in cocoa farming communities on our own,” says Taco Terheijden, sustainability director of Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate. “Working alongside technical experts like the ICI helps us learn how to take a labour monitoring system to scale in a complex, smallholder agricultural supply chain.”

“Cooperatives have proven to be one of the most efficient and effective means to reach cocoa farmers, reduce poverty and impact their livelihoods. Working together with ICI and the cooperatives on establishing CLMRS is a crucial next step in the important journey to both understand and eradicate child labour from our cocoa supply chains.”

In September 2016, ICI started training Cargill’s network of lead farmers, a group of influential members of farmers’ cooperatives working with the company, to serve as child labour agents and lead interventions that help children escape child labour.

The lead farmers have been trained by ICI to conduct regular household interviews, collect and share relevant socio-economic data via mobile technology and to provide education on the dangers of child labour. By providing technical guidance on all aspects of the system, ICI is building the capacity of Cargill to manage the system on its own, and to be able to fully integrate it into its core business.

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