Under the framework of the World Day against Child Labour, which took place on 12 June 2016, Colombia’s Ministry of Labour and the Colombian Coffee Growers Federation (FNC) have agreed to work together to prevent and eradicate child labour and exploitation in the coffee industry. Through a recent memorandum of understanding signed between the entities, Clara López, Colombia’s Minister of Labour, and Roberto Vélez, CEO of the FNC (shown here), have pledged to jointly prevent child labour and to promote respect for the rights of all teenagers involved in coffee sector.
Among the initiatives that the ministry and the FNC agreed to carry out are the design and implementation of joint awareness and education campaigns regarding child labour, the design and implementation of joint prevention and eradication campaigns regarding sexual exploitation, and information sharing between the ministry and the FNC in order to facilitate meeting the goals set out in the memorandum.
The FNC said it condemns all forms of child abuse, exploitation or labour that compromise the emotional development, health or education of children.
During the meeting with the Ministry of Labour, the FNC encouraged the Colombian government to implement a regulation that condemns child labour in the coffee sector while allowing children to be part of the family traditions and processes inherent to Colombian coffee growing. “These practices are precisely what have made Colombian coffee be a world recognized product and an engine for development,” said the FNC. “Not only does the coffee sector account for 23 per cent of the country’s agricultural GDP, but nearly 2.2 million Colombians derive their income directly or indirectly from coffee production.”