Child Labour In Seed Industries In India


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  • Child Labour In Seed Industries In India

    1. 1. Child Labour in Seed Industry in India Davuluri Venkateswarlu (Glocal Research, Hyderabad)
    2. 2. Profile of Indian Seed Industry <ul><li>Largest in the world </li></ul><ul><li>Annual turnover is around Rs 600 millions, cotton account for 50% of the business </li></ul><ul><li>Around 5 lakh acres is under seed production- cotton 90000 acres, corn 120000 acres, vegetables 5000 acres </li></ul><ul><li>Largest employer of child labour in India </li></ul>
    3. 3. Seed Industry- child labour <ul><li>One of the top five sectors employing child labour in India </li></ul><ul><li>Highest proportion of child labour compared to other sectors. </li></ul><ul><li>Use of child labour is more in Cotton and vegetable seed crops. They employ nearly 4 lakh children (below 14 years) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Contribution of India to Global Cotton
    5. 5. Recent Developments cotton seed industry <ul><li>Increase in the production area - The total area under hybrid cottonseed production increased in India by 13% since 2007 (from 60,100 acres in 2006-07 to 68, 000 acres in 2009-10) due to growing demand for hybrid seeds within and outside the country. The state of Gujarat in particular has witnessed a significant rise of 58% in the area under cottonseed production since 2007 (from 24,000 acres in 2006-07 to 38,000 in 2009-10). </li></ul><ul><li>Relocation and expansion of production to new areas- seed companies are relocating and expanding their production to new areas situated in remote pockets where cheap labour is available and public attention about child labour is less. In Gujarat and Tamil Nadu all the new production locations are situated in remote tribal pockets </li></ul><ul><li>Shifting production from large commercial farms to small family based farms - Due to reduction in profit margins on account of rise in production costs (mainly labour costs) and stagnant prices for the produce, large commercial farmers who mainly depend upon hired labour are slowly either withdrawing from cottonseed production or opting for share-cropping arrangements with labouring families </li></ul><ul><li>Changes in the workforce composition : the expansion and relocation of production into remote tribal locations and the decline in the average size of production units had significant implications for the composition of workforce. </li></ul>
    6. 6. Trends in employment of child labour cottonseed farms 2003-04 2006-07 2009-10 State Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Andhra Pradesh 14,000 82,875 NA 16,000 70,400 57,600 12,000 31200 42000 26,000 91,000 83,200 25,100 85,340 87,850 38,000 91200 125400 Karnataka 4,000 26,800 8,400 5,000 29,500 18,000 8,000 32000 27200 Tamil Nadu NA NA NA 9000 38,700 27,000 5,000 15500 17000 Total 44,000 2,00,675 55,400 2,26,100 190,450 63,000 169,900 211,600
    7. 7. Hybrid cottonseed production in India <ul><li>Use of hybrid varieties in cotton is a Asia specific phenomenon </li></ul><ul><li>Use of hybrids in cotton began in early 1970s and currently about 70% of total cotton area in India is covered with hybrid varieties. </li></ul><ul><li>After the introduction of BT cotton in 2002, all the major seed companies in India have converted their hybrids into BT cotton hybrids. </li></ul><ul><li>Currently BT cotton hybrids account for 70-75% total cotton hybrids in India </li></ul><ul><li>Hybrid cottonseed production in India is concentrated in Gujarat, AP, Tamilnadu, Karntaka and Maharashtra states which account for nearly 95% of total production area in the country. </li></ul><ul><li>Gujarat and AP are main cotton seed production centres. Gujarat account for 46% and AP % of total production in India </li></ul>
    8. 8. Workforce composition in cottonseed farms in different states 2010 AP Gujarat Tamilnadu Karnataka Age and gender composition % Children (below 14 years) to total workforce (29.8%) 426 24.6% (292) 31.2% (138) 39.2% (274) % of girls to total children 70.6% (322) 62.7% (183) 67.4% (93) 79.2% (217) % children (15-18 age group) to total workforce 39.3% (562) 34.4% (408) 34.8% (154) 34.1% (238) % girls to total children (15-18 age group) 77.2% (434) 62.6% (268) 62.3% (96) (74.8% (178) % Adults (above 18 years) to total workforce 30.9% (440) 41.0% (487) 33.9% (150) 26.6% (186) Average number of children (below 14 age) per acre 2.6 2.4 3.1 4.0 Average number of children (15-18 years) per acre 3.5 3.3 3.4 3.4
    9. 9. State wise total number of children employed in hybrid vegetable seed production 2009-10 Karnataka State Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Total production area (acres) Total children (below 14 years) Total children ( 15-18 years) Okra 2200 6600 8800 2500 8750 10250 2000 6800 11600 Hot pepper 900 18360 21960 380 4560 8816 Sweet pepper 160 1408 1952 205 1599 2952 Tomato 1600 6240 17600 40 160 472 Brinjal 500 2850 4150 550 2090 4400 Total 5360 35458 54462 3675 17159 26890 2000 6800 11600
    10. 10. State wise total area under cottonseed production in India (2009-10) Name of the state Total Area (acres) % of area Gujarat 38000 54.3% Andhra Pradesh 12000 17.2% Tamilnadu 5000 7.1% Karnataka 8000 11.4% Other states (Maharashtra, MP, Punjab etc) 7000 10.0% Total India 70000 100%
    11. 11. Cottonseed production- contract farming <ul><li>Currently private seed companies both MNCs and Indian companies account for nearly 90% of the total cottonseed produced and marketed in the country </li></ul><ul><li>Cottonseed production is carried out through contract farming. </li></ul><ul><li>Seeds companies depend upon local farmers for seed production. They arrange seed buy back arrangements with local farmers through middlemen called `seed organizers’. </li></ul><ul><li>Although seed companies are not directly involved in the production process, they exert substantial control over farmers by supplying foundation seed, advancing production capital, fixing the procurement prices and through stipulating quality controls </li></ul>
    12. 12. Specificity of child labour in cottonseed production <ul><li>Highly labour intensive and children particularly girls are employed in most of its operation </li></ul><ul><li>Magnitude child labour is high compared other industries. No other industry in India has such high proportion of child labour in its workforce </li></ul><ul><li>There is a clear preference for the children in this sector and organised attempts are made to recruit the children. </li></ul><ul><li>Children are employed on long term contract basis by paying advances and loans </li></ul><ul><li>The work in cottonseed farms has advance impact on children`s education and health </li></ul>
    13. 13. Company wise Approx. area under hybrid Cottonseed Production in India during 2006-07 Name of company Total area in acres (%) Multinationals companies (MNCs) Monsanto* 3400 (5.6%) Bayer (Proagro) 280 (0.05%) Mahyco (joint venture company with Monsanto ) 4000 (6.6%) Indian Companies Nuziveedu 10500 (17.5%) Raasi 6150 (10.2%) Ankur 6200 (10.3%) JK seeds 2325 (3.9%) Tulasi 1900 (3.2%) Ajeeth seeds 1500 (2.5%) Vikram 2000 (3.3%) Nath Bio 2500 (4.2%) krishidan 1300 (2.2%) Amar bio tech 1400 (2.3%) Other small companies 16955 (28.2%) Total 60310 (100.0 %) * Figure indicates only production area directly controlled by Monsanto. Monsanto indirectly control major part of the area through its sublicenses. All the major seed companies in India have sublicensed BT gene from Monsnato.
    14. 14. Nature of work- Gender Division of Labour <ul><li>Cottonseed production is a labour intensive activity. </li></ul><ul><li>Labour costs account for 55% of total production costs </li></ul><ul><li>Seeds are produced through hand emasculation and pollination (cross pollination). </li></ul><ul><li>Cross pollination is a vital task which account for nearly 90% of total work. The duration of cross pollination work is 80 to 100 days. During this time 10-15 labourers are required per acre every day to carry out this work. </li></ul><ul><li>Children particularly girls are employed for cross pollination work. </li></ul>
    15. 15. Emasculation Pollination <ul><li>Emasculation and pollination work is done manually which alone requires 90% of total labour days and 45% of capital investment </li></ul><ul><li>Children, particularly girls, are mostly employed for this activity </li></ul>
    16. 16. Magnitude of child labour problem <ul><li>During 2006-07 an estimated total number of 4,16,460 children under the age of 18, majority of them (54% are below 14 years were employed in cottonseed farms in Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka states which account for nearly 90% total production area in the country. </li></ul><ul><li>Children constitute about 77% in AP, 84.5% in Karnataka, 79% in Tamilnadu and 66% in Gujarat of the total workforce. </li></ul><ul><li>Girls out number boys. Among children girls account for 72% in AP, 78% in Karnataka, 59% in Tamilnadu and Gujarat. </li></ul><ul><li>No other industry in India has such a high proportion child labour in its workforce </li></ul>
    17. 17. Trends in employment of child labour in cottonseed production in India (2003-04 to 2009-10) State 2003-04 2006-07 2009-10 Andhra Pradesh 82,875 70,400 31,200 Gujarat 91,000 86,360 91,200 Karnataka 26,800 29,500 32,000 Tamilnadu 38,700 15,000 Total 200,675 190,450 169,900
    18. 18. Workforce Composition – Female Migrant Labour <ul><li>In Gujarat and Tamilnadu most of the workforce in cottonseed farms are migrant labour. </li></ul><ul><li>In Gujarat 75-80% of migrant labour in cottonseed farms are Adivasis (STs) from South Rajasthan. </li></ul><ul><li>Women particularly girls account for more than 50% of migrant workers. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Workforce composition - Migrant labour State % of hired labour total workforce % of migrant labour to total hired labour Gujarat 82.4% 83.4% Tamilnadu 85.3% 82.8% Andhra Pradesh 78.2% 17.4% Karnataka 78.6% 7.5%
    20. 20. Terms & conditions of employment <ul><li>Children are employed on a seasonal contract basis through advances and loans extended to their parents by local seed producers, who have agreements with seed companies. </li></ul><ul><li>Organised attempts are made by the employers to woo the children into this sector. </li></ul><ul><li>The recruitment of migrant child and adult workers for work in cotton fields of North Gujarat and Tamilnadu and parts of AP is dependent upon an extensive network of agents, locally called ‘ mates ’ `maistries`, </li></ul><ul><li>Children are made to work long hours (10 to 12 hours) </li></ul><ul><li>The wage rates paid children are below than adult as well as local market wages. </li></ul><ul><li>Migrant labourers live in makeshift shelters on the farms. </li></ul>
    21. 21. <ul><li>wages are much lower than adult wages </li></ul><ul><li>They work longer hours </li></ul><ul><li>They are willing to work more intensively </li></ul><ul><li>They are generally easier to control </li></ul>Reasons for preferring child labour
    22. 22. <ul><li>More than 85% children working in cottonseed fields are not attending school. </li></ul><ul><li>Children are directly exposed to high quantities of pesticides used in cottonseed production. </li></ul><ul><li>The general health problems reported by children include -severe headaches, weakness, convulsions and respiratory depression </li></ul><ul><li>Few cases of deaths due to pesticide exposures are also reported </li></ul>Impact on Education & Health
    23. 23. Violation of child rights <ul><li>The existing employment practices in cottonseed farms results in denial of rights of children and violate many national laws and international conventions. </li></ul><ul><li>Children’s right to education, health and safe living are denied by employing them on the farms on long term contract basis, making them to work long hours and exposing them to poisonous pesticides that are applied in higher quantities on the plants </li></ul><ul><li>Securing of children’s labour through giving loans/advances to their parents and compelling them to work till loan is repaid, long hours of work and paying less than minimum wages violates many Indian laws including </li></ul><ul><li>- The Children (Pledging of Labour) Act 1933 </li></ul><ul><li>- The Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976, </li></ul><ul><li>-The Child labour (prohibition and regulation) Act 1986 </li></ul><ul><li>-Article 21A of Indian constitution which guarantees every child a fundamental right </li></ul><ul><li>to free and compulsory education up to the age of 14 years. </li></ul><ul><li>- ILO’s Conventions No. 138 regarding minimum age for admission to employment </li></ul><ul><li>-UN Convention on the rights of the child (1989) </li></ul>
    24. 24. Low procurement prices contributing for child labour <ul><li>The exploitation of child labour in cottonseed farms is linked to larger market forces. Several large-scale national and multinational seed companies, which produce and market the seeds, are involved in perpetuating the problem of child labour. </li></ul><ul><li>Low procurement prices paid by the companies is one of the contributing factors to the extensive use of child labour in cottonseed production. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though companies obtain a huge profit margin, they do not seem to be making a rational calculation of the cost of cultivation when fixing the procurement price to be paid to their seed farmers. With the current procurement prices of companies, seed farmers cannot afford to pay better wages to the labourers and still make reasonable profits. Unless better wages are paid, farmers would not be in a position to attract adult labourers to work in their fields in sufficient numbers </li></ul><ul><li>This is not to suggest that once procurement price is increased the problem will be automatically resolved and farmers will shift to adult labour and pay better wages to the labourers. However, raising the price can at least address a part of the whole problem and other interventions will be more effective once it is resolved. </li></ul>
    25. 25. Response from Government and Seed Industry <ul><li>The response of state and central governments to address the problem of child labour in this sector has not been very encouraging. In the early 2000s the government of Andhra Pradesh made some serious efforts to address the problem of child labour in general and child labour in cottonseed farms however after the change of government in the state in 2004 this become became non priority issue for the government. </li></ul><ul><li>The response from seed industry as a whole to address the problem of child labour in cottonseed industry has also not been very encouraging. </li></ul><ul><li>Due to campaign initiated by local and internal NGOs, social investor groups, media several national and Multinational companies acknowledged the problem of child labour in the seed industry. Despite acknowledging the problem many of the companies have not taken any serious steps to address the problem in their farms. Though few companies mostly MNCs initiated some measures but due to limited coverage of their area their efforts have very minimal impact of over all magnitude child labour in the industry. </li></ul>
    26. 26. Response from NGOs <ul><li>The issue of child labour in cottonseed production has received attention from NGOs particularly in Andhra Pradesh and recently in Gujarat. </li></ul><ul><li>In Andhra Pradesh, MV Foundation, an NGO actively working on elimination all forms of child labour, with the support of the local community, initiated a campaign against the employment of children in late 1990s. Hundreds of girl children working in cottonseed fields were withdrawn from work and were sent to schools. In AP few other NGOs also have been actively involved in campaign against child labour including child labour in cottonseed farms. </li></ul><ul><li>Recently few NGOs in Gujarat and Rajasthan (DISHA, South Rajasthan Mazdoor Union) started active campaign against employment of child labour in cottonseed farms in Gujarat. </li></ul><ul><li>Though the efforts made by these NGOs had some positive impact due to their limited coverage the impact on overall situation is minimal. </li></ul>