Today, approximately 71% of child labour, or 108 million children worldwide, is found in the agriculture sector. More than two thirds of all child labour is unpaid family work where children do not attend or fully benefit from compulsory schooling and many of the tasks they undertake in agriculture are hazardous.
Children living in rural areas often become involved, early on, in agricultural tasks which allows them to develop important skills, capacities, contribute to the family household as well as gain a sense of belonging to the community. Unfortunately, for numerous children, tasks that children perform are not limited to educational tasks but correspond to what is defined as child labour.
While child labour in agriculture takes place in a wide range of different circumstances and work situations, a large portion of child labour in agriculture can also be found in family farming, especially when household poverty persists, few livelihood alternative are available, family income remains low or is susceptible to shocks and there is poor access to education. Child labour perpetuates a cycle of poverty for the children involved, their families and communities, where they are likely to be the rural poor of tomorrow.