By Adelola Amihere
The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has warned that the rise in child labour in agriculture portends a great danger in the global efforts to end poverty and hunger as it observed World Day Against Child Labour.
According to the UN agency, after years of steady decline, the rise in child labour in agriculture which is driven in part by an increase in conflicts and climate-induced disasters also threatens the wellbeing of millions of children.
FAO Deputy Director-General (Programmes), Daniel Gustafson in a press statement said efforts to eliminate child labour in agriculture face persistent challenges, due to rural poverty and the concentration of child labour in the informal economy and unpaid family labour.
He said: “Children who work long hours are likely to continue to swell the ranks of the hungry and poor. As their families depend on their work, this deprives the children of the opportunity to go to school, which in turn prevents them from getting decent jobs and income in the future.
“Since more than 70 percent 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.
“We need to break this vicious circle if we want to achieve progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Zero Hunger is not possible without Zero Child Labour,” he added.
Group moves to raise $10,000 for crop processing machines
Worried by the long man hours spent in processing cassava and palm oil fruits, the Spring Development Initiative, a non-governmental organization, has launched an initiative that will help to raise funds to build a food processing facility for a rural community in Uyo state.
The fund initiative which will see people donate globally via its Global Giving platform (www.globalgiving.org) to raise $10,000 will help provide the facility to enable local farmers process their food much more easily, thus preventing a 50% loss of harvest due to bad roads and from decay and pests due to poor storage.
According to the Executive Director and project leader, Spring Development Initiative, Nkem Akinsoto, the organisation is looking to get donations from at least forty people.
She said “This project will bring economic independence for 100 local farmers and their families, including women and children, in six villages in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
“The cassava and palm processing machines will increase the farmers’ revenue by reducing waste due to decay and maximizing harvest used or sold to market.
“We will leverage strong partnerships for additional in-kind technical support and knowledge transfer and build on existing structures to ensure active community participation and sustainability”, she added.
Accordingly, this long term impact is also expected to boost the income of 100 farmers and their families as products will be sold wholesale within and outside the state. Larger profits will be used to address specific community needs for education and health such as providing teaching aids and playground for children, a center for ICT and other vocational skills for teens and young adults.
“Completing the project will lead to enhanced group social esteem and bond community leaders and members, providing a forum for collaboration”, Akinsoto stated