Kuapa Kokoo, the Ghanaian cocoa farmers' co-operative that owns Divine Chocolate, has created a taskforce to crack down on child labour.

The taskforce is part of a Child Labour Programme, which has now been rolled out by the society following a successful six month trial involving 28 of the 1,400 villages that are part of Kuapa Kokoo.

The taskforce tours communities in the western region of Ghana to identify children who could be at risk from exploitation. Although the pilot did not identify any children at risk within Kuapa Kokoo, it did identify a number of children who were at risk of harm but not part of the ­society.

President Christiana Agyare said the pilot had been carried out in the western region of Ghana because around 50% of the country's cocoa is produced there. There are also instances of children being brought in from the neighbouring Ivory Coast to farm the land there.

She added that Kuapa Kokoo's members had unanimously agreed to use part of the premium Kuapa receives from Fairtrade to combat child labour and a child labour policy was drafted in July last year. It has invested $478,000 in the campaign, including distributing uniforms, bicycles and ID badges to taskforce members who work with the local communities to identify children at risk.

Kuapa Kokoo has built schools in many of the communities where it operates and villages are also given a dividend which they can choose to spend on whatever they need, including corn milling machines and machetes.

However, Kuapa warned that there was a fine line between child labour and children helping out their parents. The taskforce was being trained to identify the difference between this.

"Just because you see a child on a farm does not necessarily mean that they are in danger," said Agyare. "They may be helping out but are not being expolited. It must not risk their education or be a detriment to their health."