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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

Dear Mr. Bernd Seiffert

As per the official reports Child labour situation in Sri Lanka are as follows;

"Some 40,000 children are working as child labourers, which is about 1% of the school-going child population. In other words, one out of a hundred children in Sri Lanka are in child labour, mostly hazardous forms. 

Child labour and non-attendance in regular schooling is relatively high in Sri Lanka’s rapidly urbanising city centres than in rural areas. There is an established pattern of child labour –predominantly in the teenage category, engaged in the informal services sector. Their numbers are highest in the districts of Kurunegala, Gampaha, Colombo, Monaragala, and Batticaloa, with many other urbanised localities not far behind. 

A large proportion of soon to be young adults are engaged in child labour within the broader ecosystem of the informal services sector: such as in tourism, transport, petty trading, and caregiving. A majority of these children are boys. A large number also work in boutiques, tea kiosks, eateries, and other informal trades, in low-wage and precarious employment"

However, in my opinion, to eliminate child labour in agriculture  a country should have a holistic approach; Some of the sectors to be considered are as follows;

1. Poverty reduction should be given first priority

2. In some agricultural families parents do not prefer children's to have higher education as eventually they will move away from farms and no one to look after farmlands; In that case flexible school educations for agricultural families, agricultural colleges and universities would be a better option, until countries will develop to adopt equalize systems and until eradicating the poverty.

3. Farmers insurance & crop insurance  should be popularized as interruptions to child education and children moving to farmland instead of having an education at school are some impacts of hazardous situations such as droughts, floods

3. Current education system should be more equipped with agricultural knowledge. However, it should be rather giving specific agricultural knowledge, such as techniques, language to all children, while giving them overall knowledge there should be a system to give specific agricultural knowledge to those who are from agricultural areas, those who are interested to learn. This should not be considered as marginalizing or discriminating as it is to give priority to agriculture as a subject and give equlize importance to specialize such knowledge.

4. There should be parallel awareness campaigns to educate people that any career is not higher or lower than another. Not only doctors, lawyers but farmers are highly important to the development of the country. At least the education system should be catered to make such changes in the idiology, while governments taking actions to improve the standard of living of farmers.  

Sajeevani Weerasekara, Sri Lanka