After years of steady decline, child labour in agriculture sector worldwide has started to rise again in recent years driven by an increase in conflicts and climate-induced disasters, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Tuesday as it observed World Day against Child Labour.
Since 2002, the International Labour Organisation observed June 12 as World Day against Child Labour to foster the worldwide movement against child labour in any of its forms.
Referring to a report of the ILO on the trend of global child labour, the FAO warned that the rising trend in child labour not only threatened the wellbeing of millions of children, but also undermined efforts to end global hunger and poverty.
The ILO report noted surge in child labourers in agriculture worldwide in recent years when the number swelled from 98 million in 2012 to 152 million in 2016 due mainly to prolonged conflicts and climaterelated natural disasters followed by forced migration.
According to the report, nearly three out of every four children in child labour worked in agriculture when 70 per cent of them were in unpaid family labour.
The incidence of child labour in countries affected by armed conflict was 77 per cent higher than the global average. Nearly half of all child labour in the world now took place in Africa: 72 million, or one in five of Africa’s children, were in child labour and the vast majority worked in agriculture, followed by Asia with 62 million.
‘Since more than 70 per cent of child labour worldwide takes place in agriculture, it is vital to integrate child labour into national agricultural policies and address the issue at the household level. Otherwise, it will further exacerbate poverty and hunger in rural areas,’ said FAO deputy director-general (programmes) Daniel Gustafson.
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