Tobacco-farm child labor down to poverty

| August 28, 2013

The use of children as tobacco-farm workers is common in at least some regions of Tanzania, according to a story by Ludovick Kazoka for

Kazoka quoted the Urambo District (Tabora Region) senior community development official, Sabala Rukonda, as saying that most tobacco farmers opted for children because they were readily available to satisfy agriculture’s huge “manpower” demand. “These children use dangerous tools, are exposed to pesticides and chemical fertilizers, and carry heavy loads,” he said.

The story does not describe the age of the children working on tobacco farms, but the Sikonge District acting education officer, Ernest Simbamwene, was quoted as saying he was concerned about the poor attendance at most rural primary schools during the farming season. “Many children tend to abscond because they are being used as laborers by tobacco farmers,” he said.

Sikonge District Commissioner Hanifa Selengu said the government had taken note of the bad practice and had introduced committees tasked with tackling the problem at the ward level. Parents or guardians whose children were absent from school were being summoned for questioning before legal procedures were instituted.

But, according to the International Labour Organization, the causes of the worst forms of child labor in Tanzania’s tobacco plantations are linked to poverty. Eighty-four percent of the parents of children working on these farms come from poor and very poor socioeconomic backgrounds.

The full story is at

Category: Breaking News

Comments are closed.