Tea Association of Malawi, ILO sign agreement to combat child labour

ln a bid to eliminate child labour in the country, the International Labor Organization in conjunction with the Tea Association of Malawi have signed a K120 million action program to mobilize Malawi’s tea industry to promote and support children’s rights in the supply chain.

This follows the high prevalence rate of child labor in the country which is currently on 38%.

According to a statement made available to YFM, the new action program will see the tea association lead various initiatives that will enhance action on the part of estate owners and small holder farmers for the befit of children in tea growing areas.

“Through the program the association will promote best practice tea estate policies and codes of conduct through inclusive business models, engage smallholder farmers for improved compliance throughout the supply chain and support its members with monitoring and capacity building services,” said Beyani Munthali, Chief Executive Officer for Tea Association of Malawi.

He said they will also scale up industry wide action including catalyzing a taskforce, facilitate more and better corporate social responsibility investments to address the root causes of child labour through provision of educational support and improved livelihoods.

Munthali also added that the program will help improve their support to companies in the tea sector to invest more sustainable and responsible supply chain.

He however disclosed that for the past two years the tea sector has been facing challenges such as high cost of production due to short energy supply, adverse weather conditions and the impact of covid-19, which has in some way risked children in child labour.

Child labour continues to be a challenge in the country where 2.12 million children which represents 38% of all children aged between 5 and 17 are engaged in child labor.

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