Child labour was once a common sight across agricultural fields in India. Despite the introduction of various legislations time and again, the incidence of child labour has only reduced marginally. Children are particularly exploited in the agricultural fields and often employed in the smaller tasks. They are often the most exploited group and exposed to many health hazards.
Bayer and Monsanto is one of the leading firms in pioneering innovations in agriculture and agricultural biotechnology and one of the largest producers of GMO crops. Prior to their merger, Monsanto along with Bayers took up seed production in around 584 acres, covering 130 acres in Mahboobnagar and 454 acres in Kurnool district of AP in 2005. In 2006, the total area under production in AP, especially in Kurnool district, expanded to 2345 acres. Monsanto along with Bayer took up a drive to eliminate child labour in cotton seed production. The ground work for the same was started in 2003 with the support of Civil Society Organizations. By 2004, the strategy was in place, and, by 2005, it was translated into action. Monsanto and Bayer approached Poverty Learning Foundation (PLF) to systematically monitor and eliminate child labour from the cotton fields in their operational areas, focusing on Mahboobnagar.
PLF constituted a state-level committee comprising key stakeholders and child rights activists to review the entire process. A child labour elimination group was constituted at the state, district and mandal levels to monitor the entire process.
The process involved the following key steps:
|1||Joint monitoring visits1||Minimum of two visits during the crop season|
|2||ndependent visits by Field Assistant||Field Assistant will visit all the farms at least once in a week|
|3||Independent visits by CLEP||10 percent of total area covered once in a fortnight|
|4||Follow-up visits||Farms found engaging child labour revisited by Coordinator-CLEP within a week|
|5||Monitoring of FA||At least once in a month coordinator-CLEP joins FAs under her/his jurisdiction|
|6||Surprise Visits||Coordinator-CLEP makes surprise visits as per the requirement|
|7||Weekly Reviews||Review meeting held every Saturday with PEs, CLEP team and FAs
The review meeting aims at consolidating monitoring reports and initiating timely action based on data
|8||CLEG Meetings||Every fortnight at divisional level
Once in a month at project level and state level
The steps were followed up with a systematic flow of information right from the field level to the state CLEG group level. Model villages were identified and supported to showcase the best practices. By the end of the project period, the project had achieved its objective. It was successfully completed and all the areas where Bayers and Monsanto operated were child labour free. Bayers also replicated this model on an international level and has achieved similar results in all their operationallocations.