Fighting rural poverty key to elimination of hazardous child labour in agriculture

Jun. 12, 2007

Today is World Day Against Child Labour

GENEVA The theme 2007 being on elimination of child labour in agriculture, especially the worst forms, the International Federation of Agricultural Producers (IFAP) is pleased to join the International Labour Office (ILO) and other partners to sign a Declaration of intent on cooperation on child labour in agriculture. Lets be clear,” said the Secretary General of IFAP David King during his address at the Signing Ceremony, “child labour in agriculture is a rural poverty issue and has to be handled with rural development driven solutions.

For IFAP, the causes of child labour are rooted in the livelihood systems of rural areas and the economic vulnerability of farm families. Child labour could be described as a function of the neglect of agriculture, along with issues such as, for example, hunger, lack of education and so on. Therefore, it is urgent to build rural development strategies and programs aimed at improving rural livelihoods, creating alternative income-generating activities, and addressing health and safety in agriculture. This would play a critical role in helping reduce the use of child labour and the level of hazards and risk associated with it.

For IFAP, a key need is to help farm families move out of the poverty trap by improving farmers incomes, access to markets, and building rural infrastructure. This in turn will boost the role of family farms in combating child labour, and promoting acceptable types of farm work.

Any sustainable solutions of child labour problems in agriculture require national governments, international organizations, donor agencies and civil society organisations to give priority to agriculture and rural development, so that they are able to obtain fair prices for their products.

A key to reducing child labour in agriculture is building strong rural institutions, especially farmers’ organisations. Without strong institutions change cannot be brought about. Unless the poor are organised they will remain politically powerless and economically disadvantaged said IFAP. Thus for IFAP, a successful fight against hunger and poverty requires well-organised partners to work with. Farmers organisations can play a crucial role in rural development as partners with government.

Note: According to ILO conventions, child labour is work that harms childrens well-being and hinders their education, development and future livelihoods.

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IFAP is the world farmers organisation representing over 600 million farm families grouped in 115 national organisations in 80 countries. It is a global network in which farmers from industrialised and developing countries exchange concerns and set common priorities. IFAP advocates farmers interests at the international level since 1946 and has General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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