Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2021. 11:43 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA), the largest of the organizations representing sugar cane farmers in the north of the country, has announced a pair of initiatives to combat the use of child labour in the sugar production process and in agriculture generally.
The first is a pilot project with the International Labour Organization and the Ministry of Labour that seeks “to design and implement prototypes through a platform for social innovation that contributes to the promotion of productive employment and decent work for vulnerable youth and women in the sugar cane value chain in northern Belize,”; the second is an engagement with Fairtrade International to develop a BSCFA Youth Policy and Guidelines to enable youth in decent employment, skills development and business Opportunities.
The BSCFA says it has long studied the issue, reaching out to stakeholders including youth, and invested in programs and projects that promote awareness on the rights of vulnerable groups, particularly children, youth and/or women.
Now, it is preparing to bring youth directly into the process, noting that “youth are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults and lack real opportunities for a sustainable livelihood in the sugar cane producing sector of Belize.”
The policy on youth will enable decent employment, skills development and business opportunities. BSCFA will convene a youth working group made up of farmers, farm workers and staff, train them to conduct focus groups with youth in the farming operations and communities, and collect information from them on the following before refining and introducing the policy by the end of 2021:
BSCFA and its members’ operations
This pledge is in commemoration of Child Labour Elimination Day observed on June 12, and in solidarity with the global commitment to end child labour, specifically in relation to target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals which calls on the global community to: “Take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of the worst forms of child labour, including recruitment and use of child soldiers, and end by 2025 child labour in all its forms”.
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