Players in the tea industry have taken a stance to work towards eliminating child labour at all stages in the supply chain within the next two years.
With support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO), players in the sector under the banner of Tea Association of Malawi (Taml) have a two-year Child Labour Compliance Plan which was unveiled on Thursday.
Its dictates augur well with target 8.7 of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for an end to child labour in all its forms by 2025.
Taml Vice Chairperson Atu Kalinga said the association was working with players in the tea supply chain towards addressing the vice.
“When we say supply chain, we mean from the field to the factory and to the middlemen, the buyers, and right up to the consumers. We would like to see no incidence of child labour,” Kalinga said.
He said, since the year 2000, industry players have been working tirelessly towards ensuring that no child is employed in tea estates.
According to Kalinga, the battle is close to being won as estimates show that child labour is completely eliminated in most estates across the country.
“We are now embarking on this initiative to see to it that there is no child labour up to the point the consumer gets the product,” he said.
In December 2020, Taml signed an agreement with ILO to accelerate action towards elimination of child labour in the sector.
ILO Senior Project Officer Dylan Van Tromp said the sector had a critical role to play in the fight against child labour.
“The tea industry has a vital role in ensuring that Malawi is free of child labour,” he said.
A survey by the National Statistical Office in 2015 revealed that 38 percent of children between the ages of five and 17 were involved in child labour.