The Braastads strongly react to our articles on SAFCO, written following our visit to the plantations in the Ivory Coast in the autumn of 1997. According to the Braastads, we have 'insulted' SAFCO in a 'very libellous and wounding' manner, and we have made 'positively erroneous' statements.
In this connection we would like to clarify the following: It was the plantation workers themselves who used words like "slavery work" and "dangerous to complain" regarding their working conditions. They also used a lot of other negative expressions to describe the conditions on the plantations.
It was people in Tiassale who said that migrant workers from Burkina Faso were hired to work on the plantations, because the local people did not want to work for the low wages offered by SAFCO.
Based on the workers' own descriptions of their working conditions, we used expressions like 'an image of the past' and 'by the norms of colonial times'.
Considering our terming the plantation as 'Norwegian', we made it clear that Robert Braastad is not a Norwegian citizen, but that we chose to use the term as Braastad himself earlier has made a point out of being a Norwegian from Gjøvik in Norway (Source: Norsk Hydro Profil Magazine issue 7-94).
However, we did not write or state that SAFCO uses child labour. This is a mix-up made by the Braastads with what Dagbladet (a Norwegian daily) wrote on the same issue.
Norwatch Newsletter 10/98