Decent Rural Employment

Child labour

70 percent of child labour - nearly 112 million boys and girls - takes place in agriculture, including farminglivestockforestryfishing and aquaculture. Child labour in agriculture is a global issue that is harming children and damaging the agricultural sector by perpetuating rural poverty. For instance, when children are forced to work long hours, their opportunity to attend school and develop their skills is limited and this can interfere with their ability to access decent and productive employment opportunities later in life.

Not all work carried out by children is considered child labour. Some activities may help children to acquire important livelihood skills and contribute to their survival and food security. Yet, much of the work children carry out in agriculture is not age-appropriate; it is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with children’s education. For instance, a child working in fields where pesticides have been applied, staying up all night on a fishing boat, or carrying loads so heavy that they harm the development of the child's body – are common examples of hazardous work that is damaging to the future wellbeing of children. Some of the key factors that contribute to child labour in rural areas are low family incomes, few livelihood alternatives, poor access to education and limited labour law enforcement.

The role of FAO:

FAO supports the integration of child labour considerations into national policies and strategies for rural development. As part of its wider approach to eliminate child labour in agriculture, it also promotes efforts to boost the incomes of rural families so that they have the means to send their children to school rather than work. In particular, FAO works to: