Monsanto's initiative helps reduce child labour in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad, Aug 7 (UNI) Monsanto, a leading global provider of technology-based solutions and agricultural products that improve farm productivity, has implemented a pioneering anti-child labour programme in Gujarat in a bid to reduce child labour in the state.

When Monsanto began production of its Paras Brahma hybrid cotton seed in 2004, it launched a Human Rights Anti-Child Labour Program to help reduce child labour from 20 per cent in 2004 to less than one pc in 2007, claimed Christopher Samuel, Senior Manager (Public Affairs) of Monsanto India.

He said committed to the protection and advancement of human rights, Monsanto's Human Rights Program is in partnership with the United Nations International Labour Organization (ILO), NGOs, Voluntary Organization of Rural Development Society (VORDS), Glocal Research&Consultancy and industry. It established the programme in 2006.

Speaking to newsmen, Maureen Mazurek, Director (Global Human Rights) of Monsanto, said ''Human Rights is a key focus area for Monsanto and in India the Anti-Child Labour Program is a stellar example of successful partnership. Reducing the use of child labour requires perseverance and commitment by civil society, companies, the government and NGO expertise. We are committed to sharing our program for the learning of other stakeholders, including NGOs, Indian cotton seed companies (with non-Monsanto production fields) and government authorities to aid both enforcement of anti-child labor laws and support rehabilitation.'' Mr Samuel said ''Monsanto has pledged over Rs 11 crore to the Human Rights Anti-Child Labour program from 2006 till date. It includes a Monsanto Fund Learning Centre in Andhra Pradesh. We pledge to continue our commitment to community development initiatives in more such meaningful programs in the future.'' The company began producing hybrid cotton seed in Gujarat in 2007 on 250 acres. It recently felicitated its cotton seed production farmers who employed only adult labour, along with Minister of Education Ramanlal Vora, at Idar village in the state, he added.

UNI HT SSS SKB1700

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