Malawi is proving to the world that it is leaving no stone unturned in the fight against child labour in agriculture as it gears up for a national conference for September 5 to 6 2012 in Lilongwe.
Guest of honour at the conference will be President Joyce Banda according to a press statement from the Ministry of Labour. The theme for the conference is End Child Labour in Agriculture, Our Children
The statement signed by secretary for Labour James Kalilangwe says the conference is held against the background of concerted and sustained efforts to the elimination of child labour in Malawi.
A national survey on child labour conducted in 2002 revealed that there were 1.4 million child labourers in the country at the time, representing 37 percent of the children aged 5 to 17 years.
Agriculture was found to be the single biggest employer with 53 percent of the child labourers.
“As a result government has put in place deliberate measures to intensify the fight against child labour in agriculture including tobacco, tea, coffee and sugar sub sectors,” says Kalilangwe.
Kalilangwe says child labour elimination efforts are clearly bearing fruits. He says a Multiple Cluster Indicator Survey of 2006 showed a drop in the prevalence of child labour to 29 percent.
Malawi ratified the core International Labour Conventions on Child Labour, namely Convention Number 138 on Minimum Age and Convention Number 182 on Worst Forms of Child Labour in 1999.
In 2000, government enacted the Employment Act which incorporated key provisions of the two conventions.