India Committee of the Netherlands
+++ In solidarity with the oppressed in India +++

2015 - 2014 - 2013 - 2012 - 2011 - 2010 - 2009 - 2008 - 2007 - 2006 - 2005 - 2004 - 2003 - 2002 - 2001 - 2000 - <2000
Nov 1, 2018:
New monitoring report: Seed companies show progress on tackling child labour, but fail to tackle non-payment of minimum wages in their supply chain (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
The report Remedies for Indian seed workers in sight? of the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) reveals that despite progress in addressing child labour, seed companies have not sufficiently addressed the issue yet. The companies are also largely failing to take adequate measures to address non-payment of minimum wages, especially to women.
Nov 24, 2015:
New Report Soiled Seeds: Many seed companies involved in child labour and below minimum wages in vegetable seed production in India - 156.000 Indian children produce vegetable seeds for companies (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Almost 156.000 Indian children are producing vegetable seeds (tomato, hot pepper, okra), of which 50.000 are below 14 years of age. All of them are exposed to harsh working conditions, including poisonous pesticides and long working days. They mostly drop out of school between 11 and 13 years of age. The number of adolescent children (14 to 18) increased with more than 37.000.
Multinationals like Limagrain (French), Sakata (Japanese), Advanta (Indian) and East-West Seed (Dutch) had between 10 and 16% children below 14 years working at farmers producing seeds for them. Indian companies show similar figures. All companies have around 30% adolescents working on supplier farms.
Jul 23, 2015:
New report: Cotton’s Forgotten Children - Almost half a million Indian children produce cottonseed (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
Almost half a million Indian children are working to produce the cottonseed that is the basis for our garments and all the other textile products that we use. Around 200,000 of them are below 14 years of age. This is one of the shocking results of the new study Cotton’s Forgotten Children by India’s long-term expert on the issue, Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu.
Aug 13, 2013:
Dutch Minister Ploumen: Eradicate child labour and low wages in Indian seed sector 'as soon as possible' - ICN report leads to action by companies and trade association (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour):
The Dutch government wants child labour and low wages in the seed production in India "to be eliminated as soon as possible". That is what Dutch Minister Ploumen of Trade and Development Co-operation answered in response to parliamentary questions from Members of Parliament ChristianUnion, Party for the Animals, Socialist Party and 50Plus. She made an agreement on that with the Dutch seed companies Bejo Seeds and Nunhems, as well as with trade association Plantum. The India Committee of the Netherlands and the Stop Child Labour campaign welcome this agreement.
Minister Ploumen will visit India beginning of September. CSR will be an important part of her mission.
Jun 29, 2013:
Two Dutch vegetable seed companies in India compared : Large-scale child labour at Bejo Sheetal - Nunhems almost child labour free (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Stop Stop Child Labour) :
The Indian company Bejo Sheetal, joint venture partner of Bejo Seeds from The Netherlands, tolerates widespread child labour at the farmers who supply seeds to them. The farmers providing seeds to Nunhems India - part of Nunhems Netherlands - work almost without using child labourers younger than 14.
This is the main conclusion from the report A Tale of Two Companies – The difference between action and inaction in combating child labour, today published by the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) and the campaign 'Stop Child Labour - School is the best place to work'.
Dec 12, 2012:
Report Wages of Inequality: Women growing seeds for companies in India discriminated and underpaid (PRESS RELEASE Fair Labor Association/ICN) :
Today the Fair Labor Association (FLA) and the India Committee of the Netherlands (ICN) are publishing the report Wages of Inequality – Wage Discrimination and Underpayment in Hybrid Seed Production in India.
The report is based on field research by Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu and Mr. Jacob Kalle into the wages of labourers - women, men and children - who are growing cotton and vegetable seed in four Indian states. They are working for farmers that supply their seeds to Indian as well as multinational companies. The latter are – among others - Monsanto, Syngenta, Dupont, US Agri, East-West Seeds, Bayer, Advanta and Bejo Sheetal.
Jun 10, 2010:
More than half a million child labourers in Indian seed production - Situation improved where government, NGOs and companies intervened (MEDIA RELEASE ICN/Stop Child Labour/ILRF):
More than half a million children in India below 18 years are growing cottonseed and vegetable seeds under hazardous conditions, including very long working hours and exposure to pesticides. Around 230.000 of them are below 14 years of age. They produce the seed on the land of small and marginal farmers, which multinational and Indian seed companies use to outsource their hybrid seed production.
Child labour below age 14 in cottonseed production, although still a huge problem, has decreased in India by 25%. The decline is greater in areas where the MV Foundation (an NGO) and companies like Bayer and Monsanto have made efforts to eliminate it.
Sep 25, 2007:
New report: 'Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain' - More than 400.000 children exploited in hybrid cottonseed production (MEDIA RELEASE ICN):
More than 416.000 children under the age of 18, of which almost 225.000 younger than 14, are involved in (often bonded) child labour in India’s cottonseed fields. Most of them are girls. They work in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Compared to the 2003-2004 harvest season the total number of working children has risen. It only decreased in Andhra Pradesh because of local and international pressure.
These are some important results from the study Child bondage continues in Indian cotton supply chain, published on behalf of the India Committee of the Netherlands ICN), the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF, USA), OECD Watch, German Agro-Action and OneWorld Net NRW (Germany). The report is based on field research and has been written by well-known expert Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu, director of Glocal Research, who authored several other reports on this issue since 2001.
Jun 8, 2007:
New report: Seeds of Change - Child labour in India in cotton seed tackled by MNC's Bayer and Monsanto, but issue is far from solved (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Multinational companies Bayer and Monsanto have, under a combination of local and international pressure, began to tackle the issue of child labour in their cotton seed supply chain in India. However, both companies are still unprepared to tackle the issue in other states in which they are expanding their production.
This is the conclusion of the report, titled Seeds of Change, published today. The author Dr. Davuluri Venkateswarlu assesses the follow-up by the two companies on commitments to a joint action plan. The report is released in advance of World Day Against Child Labor taking place on June 12.
Oct 31, 2005:
Companies perpetuate child labour in India by low prices and flawed inspection (MEDIA RELEASE ICN):
Multinational and Indian seed companies are paying Indian farmers who are producing their cotton seed almost 40% too little to enable them to hire adults for the local minimum wage of Rs.52 (€1,-) instead of children. The companies are multinationals like Bayer, Monsanto and Syngenta but also Indian companies like Nuziveedu Seeds, Raasi Seeds and Ankur Seeds.
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 cotton seed 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 Labor Rights Fund (USA) and Eine Welt Netz NRW (OneWorld Net Germany).
Oct 4, 2004:
Multinational and Indian companies still profit from bonded child labour on cottonseed farms in India (PRESS RELEASE ICN) :
An estimated 12,375 children are still working in horrendous conditions on cottonseed farms in the state of Andhra Pradesh (India) producing for the multinational corporations (MNC's) Advanta (Dutch), Bayer (German), Emergent Genetics (US, with an investment from Unilever) and Monsanto (US). In addition more than 70.000 children are working for Indian seed companies under similar circumstances. Children are working long hours, do not go to school and are often bonded to the employers by loans. A number of children have died or became seriously ill due to exposure to pesticide. Promises by companies made last year to eradicate child labour in the sector have not translated into solid actions.
Oct 24, 2003:
Multinationals pledge to end child labour in Indian seed production (PRESS RELEASE ICN/Amnesty International Netherlands/Novib-Oxfam Netherlands/FNV Mondiaal):
Seed multinationals Monsanto, Emergent Genetics, Hindustan Lever1, Syngenta, Advanta and Proagro (a subsidiary of Bayer) as well as some big Indian seed companies, have agreed to co-operate with the MV Foundation (MVF) - a reputed NGO in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh - to eliminate child labour from the cotton seed industry. The companies will come up with a concrete proposal in October 2003.
This was the outcome of a meeting between these companies and the MV Foundation (MVF) in September in Hyberabad, capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. The outcome is a real breakthrough in view of the ongoing debate on the issue.
May 19, 2003:
Unilever asks its Indian subsidiary HLL to discuss child labour (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
On the 15th of May the issue of child labour in cotton seed production was discussed between Unilever Netherlands and the India Committee of the Netherlands, the Confederation of Netherlands Trade Unions, Amnesty International, Novib/Oxfam Netherlands and the Indian M. Venkatarangaiya Foundation (MVF). Unilever agreed to ask her Indian subsidiary Hindustan Lever to have a meeting in the region of production (Andhra Pradesh) with MVF.
May 14, 2003:
Unilever, Monsanto and other multinationals involved in large-scale child labour in India's cotton seed production - Start of European campaign 'Stop child labour - School is the best place to work' (PRESS RELEASE ICN):
Both Hindustan Lever Ltd., an Indian subsidiary of British-Dutch multinational company Unilever, as well as the American multinational Monsanto are making use of hazardous forms of child labour in cotton seed production in India on a large scale. An estimated number of 25.000 children, mostly girls, work an average of ten to thirteen hours a day for Hindustan Lever, while around 17.000 children work for Monsanto and their Indian subsidiary Mahyco. These children get no education, earn less than 40 Eurocents (Rs. 20) a day and are exposed to poisonous pesticides like Endosuphan during their work. More than 11.000 children work under similar conditions for the multinationals Syngenta (Swiss), Advanta (Dutch-British) and Proagro (owned by Bayer from Germany).
This is the result from the research done by the Indian researcher Dr. D. Venkateswarlu for the Indian Committee of the Netherlands.
May 5, 2003:
Unilever rejects accusation of using child labour (PRESS RELEASE Unilever):
Some time ago NGOs (including the India Committee of the Netherlands, the FNV trade union federation, Amnesty International and Novib) brought the working conditions in hybrid cottonseed production in India to Unilever's attention. Unilever is aware of this problem and entered into extensive correspondence about this and held talks and always showed its willingness to continue the dialogue. In view of that Unilever is surprised at the fact that the NGOs have not sought contact with its Indian subsidiary Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), despite Unilever's invitations to do so. HLL has a minority stake without management control in Paras Extra Growth Seed Ltd., the business that purchases cottonseed from the seed organisers, who in turn buy it from the growers.