FAO and the International Labour Organisation (ILO) are reaching out to agricultural professionals to raise awareness about the importance of child labour issues.
Globally, nearly 60 percent of all child labourers — almost 100 million girls and boys — work in agriculture. The worst forms of child labour include hazardous work that can harm their health and safety.
The two agencies launched a new e-learning course designed for use by agricultural policymakers, programme designers and implementers, researchers and statisticians, to ensure that child labour prevention measures are included in agricultural and rural development programmes, in particular those targeting poor smallholders. The course covers all sectors: crops, livestock, forestry, and fisheries and aquaculture, the Un food agency said.
“To achieve zero hunger, we must also achieve zero child labour,” said FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva. “Child labour is certainly a complex issue, and it cannot be tackled alone. We need strong partnerships, where everyone brings expertise and resources to the table,” he said in remarks made at an event in Rome marking the World Day Against Child Labour.
Not all participation by children in agriculture is defined as child labour. Some involvement can be good – helping them to acquire knowledge and develop skills that will benefit them in the future, the FAO said. However, when children work too many hours or are engaged in dangerous tasks or work that is not appropriate for their age and harmful to their health or education, this is child labour, and must be eliminated, it added.