“For me the main benefit of joining this group is learning about safe chemical handling. I was ignorant of the risk posed by unsafe handling of agro-chemicals and the potential threat to myself and my family. I remember previously how I used to follow sprayers working on my farm without personal protective equipment. I did not know I was gradually poisoning my system until I joined this group. Now I know how to protect myself.”
Kwame Hanson is married with two children. He started farming some 10 years ago and agriculture is his main source of livelihood. In total, he has 4 acres of cocoa and some plantain. Until joining the Nestlé Cocoa Plan, Kwame used to sell his cocoa beans to other companies operating in the area. The Nestlé Cocoa Plan has provided training on a wide range of topics from child labour issues to good agronomic practices on his cocoa farm to safe handling of agro-chemicals.
Learning about child labour
“My first training on child labour and protection was a real eye opener. The training reminded me of what I went through in my childhood days. Little did I realise then that I was in hard labour as a child. I was pushed into the world of work earlier in life, abandoning formal education. I sincerely think nobody should go through such an experience. Due to the understanding I have now, I have vowed that none of my household would go through such an ordeal. Harzardous work indeed suppresses children’s performance at school and drastically changes their approach to life.
There is a big difference between you [Nestlé] and the others, the others are here solely to purchase cocoa but you go beyond cocoa purchases to provide us with knowledge and understanding of what we have to do on our farm, how to treat our children and introduce us to other businesses.”
For Hanson, his association with the NCP is a learning experience whose dividend is seen in the current status of his farm, his disposition to child labour awareness and safe handling of agro-chemicals on the field.
Kwame continues: ‘To me, cocoa is just like a human being who needs to be properly taken care of if you want to get good outputs. My adherence to timely agronomic practices such as pruning and shade control has increased the resilience of my farm during dry seasons. My yield has increased by some 3 bags since I joined this group in 2016.”