A STRATEGIC partnership has been formed between the Ministry of Labour's Child Labour Unit, the Sugar Ministry and sugar industry stakeholders to withdraw children from hazardous work in the cane fields and to put them back in school.
Labour Minister Jone Usamate revealed this to participants attending the Fiji National Child Labour Forum at Shangri-La's Fijian Resort and Spa yesterday.
"With the support of the sugar industry stakeholders, the unit will be conducting training on the withdrawal process of children from the cane belt.
"The unit will also conduct training for farmers, cane labourers and Fiji Sugar Corporation field officers in conjunction with other stakeholders to ensure children are not seen harvesting cane or using chemicals in the sugarcane farms.
"This process is scheduled to start in April and end in May this year before the crushing season starts," Mr Usamate said.
West canegrowers attending consultations with industry stakeholders over the past two weeks were concerned about the effects of child labour legislation on their farms.
Many have said that since the introduction of child labour laws, discipline issues had risen and many children had begun showing no interest in continuing the family tradition of cane farming.