Child labor in farming is defined as involving children in farm duties that interfere with their personal development and their human rights. The issue of child labor is affecting many countries across the globe. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has observed that sixty percent of child labor worldwide is in the agricultural sector, including farming, forestry, livestock husbandry, and fishing (International Labor Organization, 2018). The children are engaged in long working hours and sometimes in hazardous working conditions. Child labor in farming has depicted many effects on the children including, disruption of mental and physical growth, health complications and injuries and right to education denial.
People should differentiate between moderate duties that cause no harm to children and child labor. The involvement of children in some agricultural activities that are within their ability is not child labor. Agricultural tasks that do not interfere with the child’s rights and are non-hazardous contribute to the child’s positive growth. Self-esteem, self-confidence, and farming skills are built in the children when they are involved in farming activities correctly. When children learn how to farm, there is an intergenerational transfer of technical and social skills in the farming sector from parents to the young generation (Dhananjayan & Ravichandran, 2018). Lack of proper interpretation of positive involvement of children in farming has contributed to child labor in farming.
Child labor in farming harms the child’s growth physically, mentally, and in normal development. The children get exposed to work-related fatalities, diseases, exposure to chemicals, abuse, injuries, phycological harm, exhaustion, and malnutrition. Poverty is considered the main factor causing child labor in farming (Bunting et al., 2018). Other factors contributing to child labor in farming include inadequate agricultural technology, limited access to quality education and lack of adequate adult labor in the farming sector.
Child labor farming jeopardizes children’s health and denies them their playful childhood. Children who engage in overwhelming work are at more risk of malnutrition that risks them contracting various diseases (Bunting et al., 2018). The children end up having weak immune systems due to malnourishment. They experience slow body development due to the lack of different vital nutrients in their bodies. Their behavioral and social skills are interfered with because they don’t experience proper childhood care.
Children are engaged in potential injury-causing activities while on the farm. The farm tools they use overwhelm their strength, thus causing physical harm to their bodies. Accidents occurring during farm operations cause cuts and bruises to the children’s bodies. They experience pain and, in other instances, loss of blood (Dhananjayan & Ravichandran, 2018). The children might experience physical abuse from the seniors they are working with on the farms. It happens since they get forced to work more beyond their abilities. The proper growth of the children is adversely affected due to the physical harm they experience from the farm labor and sometimes from their seniors.
While working at the farms’ children are exposed to farm chemicals which put their health at risk. The children experience immediate and long-term health effects, including poisoning, dizziness, headache, respiratory illnesses, and burns. These effects may lead to chronic or acute health conditions in the children’s lives (Dhananjayan & Ravichandran, 2018). The children experience much exhaustion due to the hard labor they give on the farm. The exhaustion reduces their concentration level and alertness, thus increasing the risk of accidents. Children get at times forced to work in extreme weather conditions at the farms.
The children working on the farms get denied the opportunity to go to school. They lose the chance to improve their future through education and finding decent work. A cycle might get created that may lead their children to end up finding themselves in child labor. In addition, child labor in farming has a significant effect on the number of children who attend school (Bunting et al., 2018). In some countries, the number of working children attending school has get observed to be half of those who are not working. It has an impact on the literacy levels of the population in those countries. Families need to get educated on the importance of letting their children go to school instead of working on farms.
In eradicating child labor in farming, there is a need to incorporate all stakeholders to create sensitization on the adverse effects of children’s involvement in farming. “The International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labor in Agriculture (IPCCLA) is a global initiative bringing together ILO, FAO, IFAD, CGIAR and IUF since 2007” (International Labor Organization, 2018). The partnership ensures that all agricultural organizations in the globe put efforts to eliminate child labor in agriculture. The corporations fight for the implementation of labor laws in all countries in the world. The organization organizes conferences to thoroughly discuss the improvements and measures being put in place to eradicate child labor in agriculture.
The advocacy and awareness created by the organization have led to a better understanding of the issues of child labor in agriculture. The organization encourages having national policies and programs to deal with the issue entirely and integrating individual labor concerns in the fight against child labor in agriculture. The organization further promotes technology in farming activities to provide labor in the farming sector instead of using children.
Bunting, L., Davidson, G., McCartan, C., Hanratty, J., Bywaters, P., Mason, W., & Steils, N. (2018). The association between child maltreatment and adult poverty – A systematic review of longitudinal research. Child Abuse & Neglect, 77, 121-133. Web.
Dhananjayan, V., & Ravichandran, B. (2018). Occupational health risk of farmers exposed to pesticides in agricultural activities. Current Opinion in Environmental Science & Health, 4, 31-37. Web.
International Labor Organization. (2018). Child labour in agriculture (IPEC). Web.