Poverty among cocoa farming households is still a key driver of child labour. The average cocoa farming household in West Africa earns less than one-third of the established living income needed to afford a place to live, food for the entire family, health care, and clothing and education for children, and cannot put some money aside, for when it is needed most.
Shocks which cause an unexpected drop in household income, including climate shocks such as drought, tend to increase child labour. In these cases, children’s work is often used as a buffer, but on the flip side, positive shocks do not necessarily lead to a decrease in child labour. In fact, whenever the value of agricultural activities increases, the risk of child labour also increases.
The Netherlands-based company Export Trading Group (ETG), a trader and processor of agricultural commodities whose portfolio includes cashew nuts, grains, sugar, coffee and cocoa, and the Beyond Beans Foundation (BBF), which works to develop and implement sustainability projects across ETG’s commodity supply chains, have launched a pilot project called EnRoute to explore the impact of intervention bundles and cash transfers on child labour.