Cote d’Ivoire has picked holes into the methodology of the 2018/19 survey” of the NORC Research Institute of the University of Chicago (USA) on child labour in the country’s cocoa-producing areas.The West African country says it does not approve of the survey in its current version even though it should contribute to the publication of a future report.
“Cote d’Ivoire cannot approve the 2018/19 survey in its current version, which is flawed,” said a statement from the National Monitoring Committee on Actions against Trafficking, Exploitation and Child Labour (CNS), whose chairperson is First Lady Dominique Ouattara.
The statement comes just over a month before the publication of the survey, due on June 29, 2020, on child labour in the cocoa-producing regions of Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana.
The two West Africa neighbours together account for 62 percent of the global cocoa market.
The NORC survey report aims to assess the prevalence of child labour in cocoa-producing areas in Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana in comparison with data from the 2008/09 and 2013/14 surveys conducted by Tulane University (USA).
These surveys are funded by the United States Department of Labour (USDOL) as part of the implementation of the Harkin-Engel Protocol.
The draft NORC report noted the sharp decline in the average number of hours worked by children in cocoa production and the sharp increase in school attendance by kids in farming households.
However, the Ivorian state said it is “very concerned about some fundamental aspects of the report due to the widely recognised shortcomings of some of the methodologies used in the 2013/2014 Tulane survey.
According to Cote d’Ivoire, “these shortcomings, which include sampling and extrapolation as well as problems related to the reference period for data collection, make it impossible to make precise comparisons between some key data from the NORC survey and those from Tulane University and would likely lead to misleading conclusions to be drawn from the NORC survey.”
In recent months, several technical workshops have been held in Abidjan and Washington, D.C., during which the Ivorian state raised concerns with NORC and the USDOL about “shortcomings in the methodology of the 2018/19 survey.”
The Ivorian state added: “Although they acknowledged these errors and their potential impact on the credibility of the 2018/19 survey findings, NORC and USDOL have so far been unwilling to make the necessary changes, citing constraints on data comparison”.
The government of Cote d’Ivoire said it is firmly committed to eradicating child labour in the cocoa sector.
According to the USDOL child labour report published the previous year, Cote d’Ivoire is among the twelve countries that received the highest rating for significant progress in the fight against child labour in the cocoa industry.