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10 Dec 2015

India: Child Labour and underpayment of women in vegetable seed production, reports India Committee of Netherlands

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Almost 156,000 Indian children are producing vegetable seeds (tomato, hot pepper, okra), of which 50,000 are below 14 years of age. The large majority of them are either Dalits, low caste or Adivasi (tribals). All of them are exposed to harsh working conditions, including poisonous pesticides and long working days....These are key findings from the new study Soiled Seeds - Child Labour and Underpayment of Women in Vegetable Seed Production in India...Another key finding from the report is that women are mostly not paid the official minimum wage for their work...Soiled Seeds again confirms previous studies that low procurement paid by companies to farmers have a strong impact on both child labour and the underpayment of women. Wages are higher in locations where procurement prices are higher...The initiatives undertaken by  Syngenta, Bayer, Monsanto, Advanta and Namdhari had – in varying degrees - a positive impact in reducing child labour at the seed farms. Recently – partly after the draft report was sent to companies - East-West Seed, Kalash Seeds, Nuziveedu, Limagrain, Sakata and Mahyco, also started interventions but given the short time-frame with still limited or unclear impact. [If any company named in the report would like to issue a response to the concerns raised, they are welcome to do so].