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4 December 2017

Social Injustice in the Global Agri Food Chain

Photo by ILRI/Stevie Mann via Flickr.

A young girl, Geneleti Luis, in Khulungira Village, in central Malawi. Khulungira is 27 km from the nearest paved road and 50 km from the nearest town. There is no electricity and no running water. No one here owns a car or a motorcycle and few parents can afford to send their children to secondary school. Photo

Photo by ILRI/Stevie Mann via Flickr.

It is a great social injustice of our times that agricultural workers and smallholder farmers in the global food chain often don’t have money for food, clothes and house for their families, or to send their children to school, despite ‘feeding the world’.

  1. Should smallholder (family) farming – properly supported & with fair prices & incomes for farmers – be the backbone of agricultural production worldwide?
  2. What responsibilities do multinational corporations in the global food chain have in paying decent wages for hired (employed) agricultural workers and securing decent income for smallholder farmers?
  3. How can legislation and policy support:
    1. increased incomes for smallholder farmers and decent wages for hired (employed) agricultural workers;
    2. improved safety and health conditions for smallholder farmers and hired (employed) agricultural workers (agriculture is one of the three most dangerous industries to work in);
    3. help guarantee the right to adequate food for smallholder farmers and hired (employed) agricultural workers and their families?
  4. What can we do as consumers?
  5. What can networks such as SIANI do?
Debate moderated by
Peter Hurst

Peter Hurst has over 20 years of experience at the international level of working on safety and health and environmental issues; pollution prevention; labour rights and conditions; child labour; labour inspection; and agricultural/rural development issues (including aquaculture and fisheries). He writes and trains extensively on these subjects, and also works as a consultant.

  • Hi Peter !
    It is a pleasure to have you starting out our debate page. You have such a long experience within this field. Exploitation of Child labour is something we really need to stop but in the same we know that small family farmers especially in developing countries are not very resourceful and need every extra hand they can get to be able to feed themselves and a produce a surplus. In times of crises (drought etc) the necessity of sustaining the families increase and the situation for the children gets worse. We know also that children do not attend school because of their work on the family farms fetching water etc. We hear about increasing number of child marriages in countries like Mozambique as a way of coping, a way of keeping the family alive. How can we best support these families without worsen their very vulnerable situation? What is your experience please share with us ! On the 14-16 November 2017 the IV Global Conference on the Sustained Eradication of Child Labour was organised Buenos Aires. Were you able to attend?Are you familiar with the outcomes of the conference and the way forward. Looking forward to hear more from you.

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