Action on Children’s Harmful Work in African Agriculture

Living Wage, Living Income, and Child Labour-Free Zones: Arguments and Implications for Children’s Work

Of the 736 million people living in extreme poverty worldwide, about 80 per cent live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for survival.

Many of these are smallholder farmers who receive a relatively small income for the crops they produce and market. Others are farm labourers who struggle to make ends meet due to low wages. A decent standard of living, one that covers basic needs and supports a dignified existence, is a human right – one which is generally not guaranteed by farm income or wages. This is an issue because decent incomes for smallholder farmers (a ‘living income’) and workers (a ‘living wage’) are fundamental for the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

This report explores the state of the discussion among those who advocate for the living wage, the living income, and the child labour-free zones, based on the literature published by those organisations. It also reflects on some of the implications for children’s work in African agriculture.

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