Child labor in agriculture is on the rise: FAO

Child labor in agriculture has started to rise again in recent years driven by an increase in conflicts and climate-induced disasters, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

FAO said in a statement, a copy of which was obtained by Petra, that “the number of child laborers in agriculture worldwide has increased substantially from 98 million to 108 million since 2012 after more than a decade of continuous decline. Prolonged conflicts and climate-related natural disasters followed by forced migration have pushed hundreds of thousands of children into child labor.” During the World Day Against Child Labor celebration, the statement warned that this trajectory threatens not only the well-being of millions of children but also undermines efforts to eradicate poverty. It pointed out that households in Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon, for example, are prone to resort to child labor to ensure the survival of their family.

Child refugees perform a number of tasks: they work in garlic processing, green houses for tomato production, harvest potatoes, figs and beans. They are often exposed to multiple hazards and risks including pesticides, poor field sanitation, high temperatures, and fatigue from doing physically demanding work for long periods.

Since more than 70 percent of child labor worldwide takes place in agriculture, it is vital to integrate child labor 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, it added.

Source: Jordan News Agency