ISSN: 0041-3216 (Online), 0041-3216 (Print)
Volume 92 Number 3
Child agricultural labour and schooling activities: Evidence from rural farm households in Nigeria. (228)
The study investigated the socio-economic determinants of child agricultural labour among rural farm households in Ondo State, Nigeria. The study was based on primary data obtained from a cross section survey of 200 children between the ages of 7 and 17 years old selected through a multistage sampling technique. Data were collected using a structured interview schedule and analyzed using both descriptive and inferential statistics. The results showed that the mean age of the children was 12.8 years, and that boys were more involved in agricultural activities accounting for 64 percent compared with 36 percent of the girls who participated. The results also revealed that the children were involved in all kinds of farm operations ranging from land clearing, bush burning, planting and weeding. However, while the boys were involved in almost all the farming operations, the girls were not involved in activities like uprooting of trees, bush burning, ridge making, stalking and chemical application. It was also shown that children spent an average of 15.6 hours on the farm per week out of which 6.33 hours were school time sacrificed for farm work. The tobit regression analysis revealed that the age, gender and education of the child were the children’s personal characteristics that predispose them to child agricultural labour. The household and community variables that significantly influenced child agricultural labour include occupation and income of household head, household size, and presence of mother in the family, farm size and distance of homestead to school. The study thus recommended among others that parents/guardians who are farmers should be properly sensitized on the need to moderate the involvement of their wards in agricultural activities by educating them on the danger of sacrificing the children’s school time for farm work. Government should help in the area of making agricultural credit available and accessible to the farmers both in cash and kind in order to alleviate rural poverty.
Keywords: Child labour, agricultural involvement, schooling, rural households, Nigeria