Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

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FAO calls for input into consultation on child labour in agriculture

This week the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has opened an online consultation into the policies and strategies to end child labour in agriculture. The online consultation will take place from 27 April to 18 May and is one of many activities that FAO will organize to observe the UN ‘International Year for the Elimination of Child Labour’ in 2021.

In the call, the FAO stated: “comments and inputs will be instrumental to identify and document good and promising practices for which evidence-based research and replication could be explored. The results of the consultation will be widely promoted throughout the International Year and beyond.”

The FAO are inviting contributions from across sectors, including academia. They welcome input from many agricultural stakeholders including agriculture-related ministries, agricultural extension agents and officers, agricultural producers’ organizations and cooperatives, workers’ organizations as well as farmers at the community level.

Growing the evidence base

The newly launched Action Against Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture (ACHA) programme welcomes this online consultation and will be encouraging partners to contribute.

In response to the call, ACHA highlights the importance of building the evidence base. “It is currently assumed that the majority of children’s work in Africa is within the agricultural sector. The programme will explore the distribution of children’s harmful work across different agricultural value chains, farming systems and agro-ecologies; the effects of different types of value chains and models of value chain coordination on the prevalence of harmful children’s work; and the efficacy of different interventions to address harmful children’s work”.

Importantly, the programme also challenges dominant discourses around child labour, and will examine how a reframing of children’s involvement in African agriculture, from child labour to children’s work, might enhance understanding of the forms, prevalence, drivers, and dynamics of their involvement, and particularly in work that is harmful.

Guidance on contributing to the FAO call

The FAO have asked stakeholders to submit case studies, experiences and information on the effectiveness of policies and strategies related to each question, how they are implemented and what challenges may remain. They are asking questions on:

  1. Hunger and Malnutrition
  2. Climate change and environmental degradation
  3. Family farming
  4. Innovation
  5. Public and private investment
  6. Attention to domestic supply chains
  7. Cross-sectoral policies and strategies

In particular, they have asked contributors to adopt as much as possible a gender lens when writing contributions: (i) did the policy or strategy have (also) a focus on the role of women, (ii) did the policy or programme take into account the differences in tasks, hazards, ages of girls and boys in child labour?

For further information visit the FAO webpage: www.fao.org/fsnforum/activities/discussions/addressing-child-labour-agriculture

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