Agriculture & the Dangers of Child Labor.
Happy Children’s Day!
Today marks the 58th celebration of children in Nigeria, raising awareness for issues that affect them and helping us appreciate that they are the future of our societies.
This Children’s day Pricepally recognizes Child Labor’s danger and beckons organizations, authorities, and the community to raise awareness of ending it by sharing helpful practices and reflecting on impactful actions.
First and foremost, child labor should be stamped out, especially in its worst forms, which means that most attention must be placed on agriculture.
According to the International Labor Organization (ILO), the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) estimated the current number of child workers in Nigeria to be 15 million. At a staggering 43% of the total population of minors, it is the highest recorded rate of child labor in Western Africa.
The agricultural sector accounts for the largest share of child labor, with 108 million children. Most child laborers are resident in Africa, where 20% of all children are affected, and agricultural child labor predominates. Child labor in agriculture prevails in subsistence/commercial farming and livestock herding, which is typically unpaid and takes place within family units.
Not all work in agriculture should be considered child labor. It is essential to distinguish between duties that do not harm the child and child labor, which is work that interferes with compulsory schooling and damages children’s health and personal development due to the time spent and conditions of employment. Some children’s participation in non-hazardous activities can be positive, as it contributes to the intergenerational transfer of skills and food security.
What are the drivers of Child Labor?
Poverty and inequalities are the main drivers of child labor in agriculture, similar to other sectors. However, other factors include limited access to quality education, weak infrastructure, lack of social protection, low revenues from crops, inadequate agricultural technology or practices, the lack of resources for paid adult labor, climate, and other vulnerabilities, and weak empowerment of women, and traditional attitudes toward children’s full-time participation in agricultural activities.
What can we do?
The onus to eradicate Child Labour in Nigeria rests on the authorities, human rights organizations, and the community.
Regulating bodies must:
- Increase livelihoods in rural areas with support to decent work opportunities, social protection, education, and infrastructure.
- Establish and reinforce partnerships and initiatives between governments and corporate actors aligned with international conventions, standards, guidelines, and national policies.
- Strengthen an enabling environment for reduced child labor with particular attention to local development planning and implementation and localities at high risk.
- Establish and strengthen farmer-based organizations and give communities a voice for effective functioning and contributing to reducing child labor.
- Implement social behavior change communications on child labor elimination and raise awareness of the harmful effects of child labor.
- Increase knowledge and data generation and sharing, supporting disaggregated data collection for improved child labor statistics with national and international statistics offices.
Finally, there needs to be a multi-pronged approach to all facets of the problem that promotes inclusive rural transformation and rural development for this to happen. Efforts should be focused on tackling poverty, food insecurity, and malnutrition, increasing access to education, empowering women and youth in rural areas, and partnering with all stakeholders, including the rural communities, cooperatives, private sector, and all value chain actors, to sustainably transform the agri-food industry.