Workshop addresses the strengthening of labour inspection to combat child labour in the cotton value chain in Mozambique

The seminar organized by the ILO and the Government of Brazil contributed for the exchange of knowledge and good practices for the promotion of decent work in the African country.

Notícias | 15 de Abril de 2022
Mozambican labour inspection specialists

Brasilia - The Brazilian experience in combating child labour and in the labour inspection work were the theme of a professional training seminar for Mozambican specialists.

Promoted by the Cotton with Decent Work Project, the seminar had the virtual participation of Brazilian labour inspectors and 27 Mozambican specialists gathered in Bilene, located in the Gaza province. It was held from 4 to 6 April and was organised by the ILO and the Brazilian Agency of Cooperation (ABC), of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in partnership with the General Labour Inspectorate of Mozambique (IGT), the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Mozambique (MTSS) and the Under-Secretariat of Labour Inspection (SIT) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security of Brazil.

Cotton is one of the most important agricultural crops cultivated in Mozambique for world markets. The commodity is responsible for creation of employment and income and is important for the food security of  millions of smallholder farming families. Cotton planting and harvesting is predominantly carried out by family farming, an activity that employs about 220,000 families in rural areas and directly benefits about 1.2 million people. The commercialization of the crop is the main source of income for these families, which created nearly t 20,000 jobs along the cotton value chain.
In this context, strategies for rural labour inspection and the fight against child labour in the cotton value chain were central issues on the event's agenda.

Brazilian labour inspectors Rogério Santos, Magno Pimenta Riga and Sérgio Augusto Letizia Garcia, from SIT, explained the role of labour inspection in combating child labour, as well as strategies to combat child labour and the Brazilian legislation on rural labour. They also shared good practices in safety and health (OSH) in rural labour context.

Among Brazilian strategies to combat child labour, Santos highlighted the importance of the Brazilian inter-institutional articulations with the participation of governments and civil society, such as the National Council for the Rights of Children and Adolescents (CONANDA), national and state forums for the prevention and eradication of child labour, and national and municipal councils for the defense of children and adolescents´rights.

"These are spaces where the problem of child labour is discussed and actions to combat child labour are articulated in the search of its eradication in Brazil." he said.

The debate provided opportunities for interaction between the Brazilian and the Mozambican especialists.

Flavia Saide, head of the Laboratory for Health, Hygiene and Safety at Work, of the General Labour Inspectorate (IGT), and Eugenio Issaia, technician at the legal office of Mozambique's Ministry of Labour and Social Security, spoke about the challenges and opportunities to promote decent work in the Mozabican cotton value chain.

In his presentation, Magno Riga presented the documentary "Precisão (Neediness)". Launched by the ILO and the Brazilian Labour Prosecution Service (MPT) in 2019, it portrays the life stories of six people rescued from labour conditions analogous to slavery in Brazil.

Magno presented the history of Brazilian rural labour regulation and its main current normative provisions. Mozambique is currently developing its rural labour regulation and is supported by the Cottonwith  Decent Work Project and by South-South Cooperation with Brazil.

To strengthen safety and health inspection activities in rural work, Sérgio Garcia, who participates in the group reviewing regulatory norms, presented strategies with an emphasis on prevention, such as the importance of inspecting the use of protective materials in agricultural equipment, of personal protective equipment (PPE) used by rural workers, and of safety signs in workplaces that use chemical products.

Garcia acknowledged  ILO's support for the development of solutions based on the use of information technology and of electronic systems for inspection activities . He also presented innovative technological solutions, such as satellite images and geolocation technologies, which have been used in the inspection work in rural areas. 

Cotton with Decent Work Project

The ILO has been implementing the "Cotton with Decent Work Project - South-South Cooperation for the Promotion of Decent Work in Cotton Producing Countries in Africa and Latin America" since 2015, together with ABC and the Brazilian Cotton Institute (IBA). The project has been developed in partnership with four cotton producing countries: Paraguay, Peru, Mali, and Mozambique.

The Project aims to support the implementation of national policies in line with international labour standards and the promotion of decent work in agriculture, especially in the cotton value chain.

In Mozambique, the project is implemented as part of the National Employment Policy, which aims to promote job creation, employability, and sustainability of employment, aiming at contributing to the country´s economic and social development and the well-being of its population.

This project contributes to the achievement of the following Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda in Brazil: SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth); and SDG 17 (partnerships for the goals).