Published: 16/05/2022

As the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour gets underway this week in Durban, South Africa, the IUF is calling for specific commitments to tackle child labour in agriculture. Although there has been some progress in other sectors, agriculture remains the biggest single employer of child labour with 70% of all child labour taking place in agriculture alone.

The ILO and UNICEF are predicting that the impacts of COVID-19 and the climate crisis will lead to a dramatic increase in child labour. They estimate:

  • child labourers will reach 168.9 million by the end of 2022
  • children between 5 and 11 years make up 75% of all child labour in agriculture
  • more than 50% of children work in hazardous conditions

The International Partnership for Cooperation on Child Labour in Agriculture (IPCCLA), of which the IUF is a member, is calling for an integrated policy approach to combatting child labour including improving education, reducing decent-work deficits through the protection of workers’ rights and  promoting gender-sensitive approaches to address gender discrimination and inequalities.

The IUF Demands for the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour (available in English, Spanish and French) include:

  • Governments: Establish laws on child labour in agriculture in compliance with ILO C138 and C182 without exemptions on minimum age and enforce these laws through government labour inspection
  • Companies sourcing from agriculture: Pay a fair price for agricultural crops to ensure that small holders receive a living income and farmworker unions can bargain living wages thus enabling the fair distribution of value down the supply chain
  • Employers: Stop using child labour & respect agricultural workers’ rights including the freedom of association and the right to collectively bargain
  • IUF affiliates: Strengthen organizing in agriculture to build the labour movement locally and nationally; this remains essential for the elimination of child labour


The IUF will be participating in two FAO-led events on child labour in agriculture and in artisanal fisheries that will both take place on May 19, 2022 from 11:15 to 14:15 CEST.

The events will be streamed live on the website of the 5th Global Conference.

11:15 – 12:15: Side-event “Strategies to address child labour in artisanal fisheries”

12:30 – 14:15: Thematic Panel “Child labour in agriculture”

More information about the two events HERE.

Despite progress in reducing the global figures, the number of child labourers in agriculture remains unchanged. The focus must move from the general to the specific by focusing on agriculture.
IUF Demands to the 5th Global Conference on the Elimination of Child Labour