A simmering crisis in the Nigerian agriculture today involves labour and the crisis manifests itself in the degree of labour availability, labour demand and labour productivity. One of the major products of this crisis is the increased participation of children in paid, non-familiar agricultural jobs. They are frequently employed as farm labourers, bird scarers, food crop harvesters, processors and hawkers. More than 132 million children work in agriculture. Agriculture ranks as one of the three most dangerous work activities, followed by mining and construction. Child labour is increasing in postharvest processing, transport, marketing and a range of agroindustries. Child labour is maybe one of the most striking indicators identifying vulnerable children and as such pointing to shortcomings in several of the millennium goals as poverty eradication, education for all, gender equality, combating HIV/AIDS and creation of a global partnership for development. Most working children do so after a decision in their parental household. To understand the household labour supply decisions, relation to the labour market and to public interventions is critical in designing programmes in order to achieve the MDGs. The research on child labour represents in this respect a largely untapped resource of knowledge for policymakers in the fields of agriculture, education programmes and poverty reduction programmes. The effect of lack of education opportunities on child labour is well documented, but existence of widespread agricultural child labour also reduces the effectiveness of investment in education. It is recommended in this paper that the legislator should enact laws that will reduce agricultural child labour through redistribution of the nation’s resources, women should be integrated in the fight to combat child labour and that alternative income sources should be provided for rural families whose children are the most vulnerable.
Key words: Child labour, agriculture, combating, development.
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