Africa: New Child Labour Law Looms in Tobacco Growing Areas - ILO

Photo: The Herald
Tobacco farm (file photo)

THE International Labour Organisation (ILO) has approved new approach to fight child labour in tobacco growing countries and promote decent agricultural activities especially in Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.

This was revealed here recently by the Director of Advocacy and Engagement for Elimination of Child Labour in Tobacco growing Foundation (ECLT), Nicholas McCoy, in his global release report to stakeholders.

He said the strategy will strengthen and sustain collaborative global efforts towards supporting some 40 million farmers and families, who depend on tobacco growing for a living, many in Southern and Eastern Africa.

He clarified that through the approach, the ILO will invest USD 1.6mil per country for three consecutive years, and engage governments, workers, employers' organisations and companies to address the root causes, deficits and hazardous works amongst the farmers.

"This strategy is an important step towards strengthening and sustaining collaborative global efforts to support families, who depend on tobacco growing for a living, in various countries, many in Southern and Eastern Africa," he further pointed out.

The Director noted that the set-forth will bring together governments, workers, employers' organisations and the private sector to promote strong government policy and multi-stakeholders' cooperation.

McCoy added that the approach will also provide direct assistance to address challenges in the tobacco sector, including child labour and economic diversification.

In addition to the ILO's funding commitment, McCoy hinted that the organisation will continue mobilizing sustainable sources of funds from the public and private sectors.

However, he commented that the four African countries of Malawi, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia have an opportunity to benefit farmers, workers and their families in the scheme, besides shaping their intervention model, including services and investment.

Expounding, the Director noted that the 2019 Kampala Technical meeting agreed that tobacco is a legal crop that sustains livelihoods of millions of people, hence requires multi-stakeholders' collaboration and recurrent improvement.

Highlighting the past child labour works done by ECLT Foundation and Japan Tobacco International's ARISE Programme since 2011, McCoy said that more than 220,000 children, families, farmers and workers in areas where tobacco is grown have been supported.

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