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CROPS ROT AS EBOLA ORPHANS FLEE SIERRA LEONE FARMS
FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — The deadliest outbreak of Ebola on record is forcing farmers and their families to flee cocoa, rice and peanut plantations in northeastern Sierra Leone, where agriculture makes up more than half of the nation's economy.
Output of the chocolate-making ingredient will drop this year and peanuts and rice, a staple, will be left unharvested....
"Ebola has left with us with a high number of orphans who cannot take care of themselves and family plantations," Brima Kendor, a plantation owner and spokesman for the local chief in Kissi Tongi, Kailahun district, said in an interview. "This is the time to rehabilitate the cocoa farms but we can't do that now."
Abandoned farms threaten to curb economic growth in a country struggling to rebuild after a 10-year civil war that ended in 2002 and left the nation's infrastructure in ruins. Agriculture makes up about 57 percent of the $4.9 billion economy, according 2011 World Bank data, the most recent figures available. The virus will probably spread for four more months in West Africa, where more than 600 people have died since the fever was reported in March in Guinea, according to the World Health Organization.
originally posted by: WanDash
a reply to: soficrow
Why do they think the virus will continue to spread for "four more months"?
Is that just in West Africa?
If the orphans lost their parents to Ebola - what is it about the orphans, that they were not infected?
Child Labor and Slavery in the Chocolate Industry
Chocolate is a product of the cacao bean, which grows primarily in the tropical climates of Western Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The cacao bean is more commonly referred to as cocoa, so that is the term that will be used throughout this article. Western African countries, mostly Ghana and the Ivory Coast, supply more than 70% of the world’s cocoa. The cocoa they grow and harvest is sold to a majority of chocolate companies, including the largest in the world.
In recent years, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in Western Africa. Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur, but to then disseminate this information to the public. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady’s entourage allegedly kidnapped and killed a journalist reporting on government corruption in its profitable cocoa industry. In 2010, Ivorian government authorities detained three newspaper journalists after they published an article exposing government corruption in the cocoa sector. The farms of Western Africa supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery.
The Worst Forms of Child Labor
In Western Africa, cocoa is a commodity crop grown primarily for export; 60% of the Ivory Coast’s export revenue comes from its cocoa. As the chocolate industry has grown over the years, so has the demand for cheap cocoa. On average, cocoa farmers earn less than $2 per day, an income below the poverty line. As a result, they often resort to the use of child labor to keep their prices competitive.
The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and most begin working at a young age to help support their families. Some children end up on the cocoa farms because they need work and traffickers tell them that the job pays well. Other children are “sold” to traffickers or farm owners by their own relatives, who are unaware of the dangerous work environment and the lack of any provisions for an education. Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighboring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali, two of the poorest countries in the world. Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever.
originally posted by: BasementWarriorKryptonite
I heartily agree, but cocoa is produced in many places other than the countries of West Africa and nobody will be going without.
600 people dead from ebola and the people who've endured everything else crumble? I know people have a breaking point but something doesn't add up.
originally posted by: Night Star
It is a shame that in this day and age people can still be wiped out from diseases like that. My heart goes out to those poor people and what they must endure.