Combating Agricultural Child Labour for National Development: Implications for the Millenium Development Goals in Nigeria


Department of Agricultural Economics, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Imo State


A simmering crisis in the Nigerian agriculture today involves labour and the crisis manifests itself in the degree of labour availability, labour demand and labour productivity. One of the major products of this crisis is the increased participation of children in paid, non-familiar agricultural jobs. Agriculture ranks as one of the three most dangerous work activities, along with mining and construction. They are frequently employed as farm labourers, bird scarers, food crop harvesters, processors and hawkers. More than 132 million children,work in agriculture. Child labour is increasing in postharvest processing, transport, marketing and a range of agroindustries. Child labour is maybe one of the most striking indicators identifying vulnerable children and as such pointing to shortcomings in several of the millennium goals as poverty eradication, education for all, gender equality, combating HIV/AIDS and creation of a global partnership for development. Most working children do so after a decision in their parental household. To understand the household labour supply decisions, relations to the labour market and to public interventions is critical in designing programmes in order to achieve the MDGs. The research on child labour represent in this respect a largely untapped resource of knowledge for policymakers in the fields of agriculture, education programmes and poverty reduction programmes. It is recommended in this paper that the legislators in Nigeria should enact laws that will reduce agricultural child labour through the redistribution of the nations resources, women should be integrated in the fight to combat child labour and that alternative income sources should be provided for rural poor families whose children are the most vulnerable. [ G.N, Ben-Chendo. Combating Agricultural Child Labour for National Development: Implications for the Millenium Development Goals in Nigeria. International Journal of Agricultural Science, Research and Technology, 2011; 1(2):61-66].


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Acronyms: CARE, Cooperative For Assistance And Relief Everywhere; CENFET, Centre For Non-Formal Education And Training; CYPL, Children And Young Persons Law; EFA, Education For All; FAO, Food And Agricultural Organisation; FFE, Food For Education; ICFTU, International Confederation Of Free Trade Unions; ILO, International Labour Organisation; IPEC, International Program On The Elimination Of Child Labour; NGO, Non-Governmental Organisation; SARD, Sustainable Agriculture And Rural Development; UN, United Nations; UNCRC, United Nations Convention On Rights Of The Child; UNICEF, United Nations Children’s Fund; WACAP, Programme To Combat Hazardous And Exploitative Child Labour In Cocoa/Commercial Agriculture In West Africa.