Companies responsible for child labour in India
At present the farmers working for these companies mainly hire children and young people below 18. At least 100,000 of them work 13 hours a day in cottonseed production in Andhra Pradesh for less than half a Euro per day. They are often bonded by loans given to their parents.
These are some findings from the report 'The Price of Childhood' released by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN), the International Labour Rights Fund (USA) and OneWorld Net Germany. The report states that the seed companies are responsible for large-scale child (bonded) labour and for evading India's minimum wage laws. The parents of the working children are often un(der)employed. If they do have work in the sector, it is usually for a wage which is not much more than half of the official minimum wage.
Companies like Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta do acknowledge that there is substantial child labour in their supply chain and that they are at least partly responsible for that. They do however deny that there is a relation with the price they are paying to cottonseed farmers. According to the companies farmers are to blame for the high incidence of child labour and say farmers have to improve their productivity to make the shift from child to adult labour.
A consequence of this is that the activities against child labour undertaken by the
companies had a limited effect thus far. The report 'The Price of Childhood' shows
that there has been a decrease in the number of working children between 6 and 14
years to roughly half of all labourers. However, the other half now consists for 70
per cent of young people between 15 and 18 years of age. They have generally worked
as a child before and are now kept on. But like the younger children they work
around 13 hours a day and hardly earn more than they do. [Source: CRIN]