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Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association announces initiatives against child labour 

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: 

  1. a) supply and demand constraints and root causes facing youth in securing decent  employment, skills development and/or business opportunities in agriculture, including at 

BSCFA and its members’ operations 

  1. b) The type, terms and conditions of agricultural work of youth who secured employment,  skills development and/or business opportunities at BSCFA and members operations,  including recommendations to make these better. 

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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