Cocoa Farmers Parry Child Labour Tag -Threaten To Sue Al Jazeera

Some angry farmers who reacted to the Al Jazeera news


COCOA FARMERS at Ohiampeanika in the Amenfi West District of the Western Region have denied using children to work on their farms.

They have, therefore, threatened to sue Al Jazeera, an international media organisation which did a television story to the effect that cocoa farmers in the area engaged children to work on their farms.

The report by the Qatar-based media organisation, which went viral, indicated among others that a visit to the farming community revealed children working on cocoa farms.

The farmers, who were infuriated by the video circulating, have described the news item as stage-managed.

“The Al Jazeera video circulating is false. They visited us and told us they were from Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) and that they were here to listen to our problems to help solve them. Not knowing they had ulterior motives,” they lamented.

Speaking to journalists last Saturday, the angry farmers asserted that what the international media organisation did has dented the country’s image in the eyes of the international community adding “We will go all out to sue them.”

Samuel Ofori Asare, a former Assembly Member for the area who featured in the Al Jazeera video, said the media house never told them they were going to do a news story.

“After listening to the farmers, the Al Jazeera pressman indicated that they wanted some of the farmers whose farms were nearby to go with them to demonstrate how the cocoa is planted and harvested,” he noted.

He said one of the farmers called Owusu Gyan alias ‘Gafa” whose farm was nearby opted to go with them.

“As they were going, the pressmen from Al Jazeera asked if they could get some children to go with them so they can carry the baskets into which the cocoa pods would be harvested,” he added.

He said Gafa’s brother’s three children who are all in school and had closed from church on that Sunday were asked to change quickly and went to the farm with them.

He continued “So in the farm, the Al Jazeera journalists, who spoke through a Ghanaian interpreter, would tell the farmers what to do as they were filming.”

“So, they will tell a farmer to use the cutlass to harvest the pods from the tree and give it to the children to open them and the journalists were filming. So, as for us, we are here waiting for the support they promised only to hear that there had been an Al Jazeera TV report indicating that farmers in this community use child labour on their farms.”

“In fact, we were shocked and we want the whole world to know that cocoa farmers here do not engage children to work on their farms and so all should disregard that report. Ghanaian cocoa farmers don’t use child labour on their farms,” he stressed.


Later in an interview, the Director of Special Services at COCOBOD, Charles Amenyaglo, said what transpired was criminal and that a report had subsequently been lodged with the police.

He appealed to all those who played a part in the story to cooperate with the police particularly, when they are called to give their statements.

FROM Emmanuel Opoku, Ohiampeanika