tagged w/ Burkina Faso
THE CNN FREEDOM PROJECT ENDING MODERN-DAY SLAVERY
January 19th, 2012
12:03 PM ET
Child slavery and chocolate: All too easy to find
In "Chocolate's Child Slaves," CNN's David McKenzie travels into the heart of the Ivory Coast to investigate children working in the cocoa fields.
(More information and air times on CNN International.)
By David McKenzie and Brent Swails, CNN
CLICK ON CNN LINK (at top) TO VIEW THREE VIDEOS
Daloa, Ivory Coast (CNN) - Chocolate’s billion-dollar industry starts with workers like Abdul. He squats with a gang of a dozen harvesters on an Ivory Coast farm.
Abdul holds the yellow cocoa pod lengthwise and gives it two quick cracks, snapping it open to reveal milky white cocoa beans. He dumps the beans on a growing pile.
Abdul is 10 years old, a three-year veteran of the job.
He has never tasted chocolate.
During the course of an investigation for CNN’s Freedom Project initiative - an investigation that went deep into the cocoa fields of Ivory Coast - a team of CNN journalists found that child labor, trafficking and slavery are rife in an industry that produces some of the world’s best-known brands.
It was not supposed to be this way.
After a series of news reports surfaced in 2001 about gross violations in the cocoa industry, lawmakers in the United States put immense pressure on the industry to change.
“We felt like the public ought to know about it, and we ought to take some action to try to stop it,” said Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin, who, together with Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, spearheaded the response. “How many people in America know that all this chocolate they are eating - candies and all of those wonderful chocolates - is being produced by terrible child labor?”
But after intense lobbying by the cocoa industry, lawmakers weren’t able to push through a law. What they got was a voluntary protocol, signed by the heads of the chocolate industry, to stop the worst forms of child labor “as a matter of urgency.” One of the key goals was to certify the cocoa trade as child-labor free.
“It was meant to achieve the end of child slave labor in cocoa fields,” Engel said.
UNICEF estimates that nearly a half-million children work on farms across Ivory Coast, which produces nearly 40% of the world’s supply of cocoa. The agency says hundreds of thousands of children, many of them trafficked across borders, are engaged in the worst forms of child labor.
A recent study by Tulane University says the industry’s efforts to stop child labor are “uneven” and “incomplete” and that 97% of Ivory Coast’s farmers had not been reached. But the industry’s main representative in the country disagrees with the assessment.
“I think the situation has improved exponentially,” said Rabola Kagohi, country director for the International Cocoa Initiative, the chocolate industry’s answer to fighting child labor and trafficking. “Today, the message is physically getting through.”
Kagohi works out of a basement office with one other permanent employee.
“There are some results,” he said. “I wish that you had spoken to some planters.”
None of the farmers CNN spoke to in the heart of the cocoa production region said they had ever been reached by the International Cocoa Initiative, the government or chocolate companies about child trafficking.
Children such as Abdul don’t know anything about protocols or certification. All they know is work.
When Abdul’s mother died, a stranger brought him across the border to the farm. Abdul says all he’s given is a little food, the torn clothes on his back, and an occasional tip from the farmer. Abdul is a modern child slave.
And he is not the only youngster working in his group.
Yacou insisted he is 16, but his face looks far younger.
“My mother brought me from Burkina Faso when my father died,” he said.
Scars crisscross Yacou’s legs from a machete. He can’t clear grass in the cocoa fields without cutting himself. During harvest season, he works day after day hacking the cocoa pods.
The emotional scars run much deeper.
“I wish I could go to school. I want to read and write,” he said. But Yacou hasn’t spent a single day in school, and he has no idea how to leave the farm.
“It makes me angry,” Engel said. As far as he’s concerned, the chocolate companies haven't done enough.
“They are working with us, and we are glad that they are working with us. But they could do better.”
One of the major players in the Ivory Coast cocoa trade is, not surprisingly, the Ivorian government. Although the country has cornered a vast chunk of a lucrative market, it is considered one of the world’s poorest by any measure.
But the government leadership blames politics and war for the problems in the cocoa industry.
“Thirty years of political instability caused a lot of damage to our economy generally, and to the agricultural sector particularly, and more specifically to the cocoa industry,” said Ivory Coast’s minister of agriculture, Sangafowa Coulibaly. “Unfortunately, these years have been lost.”
After an attempted coup in 2002, the country was split in half and kept from all-out civil war by the United Nations. There was protracted violence after the last disputed presidential elections, when then-President Laurent Gbagbo refused to concede.
With the new government of Alassane Ouattara in charge, the government says it can now put much-needed reforms in place.
“Things can only get better,” Coulibaly said. “The main reason is that today, the political crisis is behind us, the armed conflict is behind us.”
But many observers believe that a new government won’t make it a priority to stop slavery in the cocoa fields.
And with peace, traffickers are free to do their work again. U.N. officials told CNN that the Ivory Coast conflict actually helped slow down trafficking because people were too afraid to move across borders.
Contrary to the promises of action, CNN’s investigation could only find promises. And those promises are empty to children like Abdul and Yacou.
Post by: CNN's Brent Swails, CNN's David McKenzie
THE CNN FREEDOM PROJECT ENDING MODERN-DAY SLAVERY
January 19th,... more
According to this article, the reality of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso in West Africa is far removed from the hyperbole. The cost of Bt cotton seed in Burkina Faso has quickly more than tripled in return for no increase in yields – exactly the opposite of the claims used to promote Bt cotton to Burkina Faso's farmers of massive increases in yield. These kinds of wildly misleading promotionals for Bt cotton are already familiar from India - see item 2 - and South Africa: http://gmwatch.org/latest-listing/1-news-items/12693
EXTRACT: ...in 2003, a pro-GM propaganda campaign was launched. In all media and organised forums on the subject, we heard the fabulous promises of GMOs: four times higher yields, fourfold savings on inputs.
...The increase in the cost of the [Bt cotton] seed, from 1600 FCFA [24 Euros/34 USD] per hectare for conventional seeds last year to 54000 FCFA [82 Euros/115 USD] hectare for GM seeds this year, is not accompanied by increasing yield as was promised.
1.Burkina Faso is a Trojan Horse for GMOs in Africa
Interview with Ousmane Tiendrébéogo, Secretary General of the National Union of Agropastoral Workers (Syntapa)
by Combat Monsanto
Journal of Alternatives, June 28 2011
Article in French: http://bit.ly/qSTmiR
[Unofficial English translation by Claire Robinson of GMWatch]
Ousmane Tiendrébéogo, Secretary General of the National Union of Workers of the Agro-Pastoral (Syntapa), and Burkina Faso cotton farmers' union activist for GMO-free Burkina Faso, has been in France for the past two weeks at the invitation of the Artisans of the Monde-Rhone Alps. Combat Monsanto took the opportunity to meet him and to examine the record of GMOs in Burkina Faso. The findings are alarming!
Combat Monsanto: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and Syntapa?
Ousmane Tiendrébéogo: I am a peasant cotton farmer in Burkina Faso and Secretary General of Syntapa. Syntapa was started in 2003, based on the observation that the National Union of Cotton Producers of Burkina Faso (UNPCB), the only organization bringing together producers, merely applied the policies of the government and completely forgot what should be its primary function – working for the interests of farmers. The Syntapa's mission is leading the fight for better compensation for farmers. In this context, Syntapa is fighting against GMOs (Bt cotton, biofortified sorghum) because, in addition to their adverse effects on health and the environment, they exacerbate the impoverishment of farmers.
CM: Can you expand on this? What does Syntapa claim with regard to GMOs?
OT: We are opposed to GMOs for several obvious reasons. The first reason is the catastrophic economic impact that the adoption of GMOs has had on farmers. The increase in the cost of the seed, from 1600 FCFA [24 Euros/34 USD] per hectare for conventional seeds last year to 54000 FCFA [82 Euros/115 USD] hectare for GM seeds this year, is not accompanied by increasing yield as was promised. Worse, the Bt cotton produces fewer seeds than the conventional variety, and is thus two times lighter in weight for the same output of fiber. Thus, peasant farmers, who are paid by the weight of their harvest, are the losers, whereas Sofitex [a state-controlled agro-industrial and commercial entity, involved in the entire cotton production cycle, including planting, ginning of seed cotton and export of cotton fiber] is the winner.
To take a concrete example: a truck full of conventional fiber weighed about 12 tons and generated 1.8 million FCFA [2748 euros] in revenue for the farmers. This same truck today, filled with the same amount of fiber, but from GM cotton, weighs 6 tons [50% less] and generates 900 000 FCFA [1374 euros, 50% less] for the farmers. This has caused significant financial losses for farmers during the first harvest of Bt cotton. Indebted farmers may have to sell their land, which will likely be bought by multinationals for monoculture export or biofuel.
Then we see an environmental impact: I saw farmers' herds of goats become seriously ill and die after GM cotton was planted in their fields. The authorities responded to this problem by ordering analyses of cotton leaves. But due to lack of funds and of independent testing bodies, the cotton samples were sent to Monsanto's own labs for testing.... Of course, the multinational, which sells Bt cotton, found nothing suspicious in the samples. We are not even sure that the analyses were even done.
Finally GMOs pose a safety problem: children have became ill through contact with the seeds and Sofitex itself advises pregnant women and children to stay away from GM seeds.
More at the link
http://en.sott.net/image/image/s3/73679/full/Nation_9_21_2009.jpgAccording to this article, the reality of Bt cotton in Burkina Faso in West Africa is... more
linx my artist paola caroppi
fotografa professionista realizza diversi report fotografici per l'associazione vip occhi rossi
roma durante le sue missioni in giro per il mondo
montaggio alex caroppilinx my artist paola caroppi
fotografa professionista realizza diversi report... more
With the support of the local community and the dedication of a small number of committed donors in France Barnabe has created a refuge for children in need, providing these children a safe and healthy place to live and grow whilst efforts are made to reintegrate them into their own families and communities. L'Arbre d'en face.
http://humanvillage.com/publication/larbre-den-faceWith the support of the local community and the dedication of a small number of... more
The red carpets have been rolled out. Not in Los Angeles, but in Ouagadougou - capital of Burkino Faso - where the 21st Panafrican Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (Fespaco), is underway.
Following the link above you can watch more pictures.The red carpets have been rolled out. Not in Los Angeles, but in Ouagadougou - capital... more
4 years ago
At least 60 people are dead after a bus collided with a truck west of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso's capital. Eight hours after the crash, fire fighters were still attempting to put out the blaze.At least 60 people are dead after a bus collided with a truck west of Ouagadougou,... more
Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960.
Repeated military coups during the 1970s and 1980s were followed by multiparty elections in the early 1990s.
Current President Blaise Compaore came to power in a 1987 military coup and has won every election since then.
Burkina Faso's high population density and limited natural resources result in poor economic prospects for the majority of its citizens.
Recent unrest in Cote d'Ivoire and northern Ghana has hindered the ability of several hundred thousand seasonal Burkinabe farm workers to find employment in neighboring countries. Burkina Faso (formerly Upper Volta) achieved independence from France in 1960.... more
A solar panel lies on the roof of Pierre Guissou's home in Burkina Faso, feeding power to his water heater and allowing his family to take precious hot showers in a country where most homes lack electricity.
The 42-year-old electrician is among a growing number of residents in this west African country turning to the sun to heat their water, helping them save money on utility bills and the environment along the way.
"Everyone washes with hot water at home, which was reserved for the children before," said Guissou, who lives in the capital Ouagadougou.
"It saves money, protects the environment and there's no more anxiety about electricity bills at the end of the month," he said.
With the country's electricity grid reaching only 12 percent of all households, the sun provides a powerful alternative source of energy.
But solar power remains scarce here like elsewhere in most of sub-Sahara Africa. While the sun-bathed continent has a huge potential for producing solar power, it accounts for a tiny percentage of the world's solar energy output.
Price is often a deterrent. Solar-powered water heaters cost 600 to 1,520 euros (860 to 2,190 dollars) in Burkina Faso, a country of 15.2 million residents where the minimum guaranteed income is a mere 46 euros (65 dollars) a month.
But headway -- at least on the micro level -- is being made slowly but surely thanks to a tenacious Swiss non-government organisation, the Albert Schweitzer Ecological Centre (CEAS) which arrived here in 1973 after a severe drought.
"Most of the NGOs that came here at the time resorted to reforestation and soil restoration," said Charles Didace Konseibo, a Burkinabe CEAS manager.
"Cutting fresh wood to make firewood or charcoal is very common here. There was a need for a solar alternative for those using wood to keep new trees from being destroyed years later," he said.
So in 1982, CEAS set up a facility in Ouagadougou to train residents in solar energy equipment. Since then, local workers have passed on their knowledge to other Burkinabes.
Saidou Porgo, the craftsman who delivered Guissou's 200-litre (44 gallons) water heater in 2002, owes his expertise to a three-week CEAS training course.
-- 'Our only wealth here is the sun' --
"Our only wealth here is the sun," said Porgo, a welder. "We have plenty of it and it never dies. It's in our interest to promote this source of energy, since life has become more expensive."
The centre taught him to build water heaters, dryers and pumps, among other things. Porgo said he sold about 50 dryers and water heaters, earning him about 22 million CFA francs (33,500 euros, 47,000 dollars) in 10 years.
And his clients are "less cranky" when bills come around at the end of the month thanks to the solar technology.
Boniface Willy, another CEAS trainee, has done even better. Since his course in 1993, he has sold hundreds of solar water heaters to hotels, health centers and private homes.
This is the future. This is what we should be doing with money. Educating people and bringing them the tools necessary to sustain their own lives and build their own futures. That is freedom. And the solution is so simple. The sun, and the trees, and the wind, and the rain.
A solar panel lies on the roof of Pierre Guissou's home in Burkina Faso, feeding... more
One prostitute in Burkina Faso shares her plight, and some of her shame, in having to sell her body to feed her family.One prostitute in Burkina Faso shares her plight, and some of her shame, in having to... more
4 years ago
Hip hop recording artist, mixing reggae and rap, Akwabazi Filanzy and the hip hop group Faso Kombat from Burkina Faxo which he has produced. Parisian based actor, filmmaker and musician who will be featured in the Cannes Short Film Corner, Vince Bosco, with the world premiere of LYA. Winner for the Best Foreign Film in the Miami Underground Film Festival, 'Marta's Sex Tape,' from director Anthony Rivero Stabley. All past video uploads are now archived without the audio news narration to the Free Home Video Showcase at: http://www.actorschecklist.com/videoHip hop recording artist, mixing reggae and rap, Akwabazi Filanzy and the hip hop... more