By Fatima Muraina
The Ondo State Government has re-affirmed its readiness to support initiative that would eliminate child labour in the state.
The state Commissioner for Agriculture and Forestry, Mr Olayato Aribo stated this while playing host to the Project Director, Action Against Child Labour in Agriculture in West Africa (ACLAWA) and other members of the team in his office in Akure.
The Commissioner hinted that child labour’s index is low in the state, attributing it to the love and value for education and programmes put in place by the state government.
He added that some challenges noticed by the team while on tour of some communities in the state would be addressed by the government.
Mr Aribo added that the state is number one in the country in terms of cocoa production and would continue to do its best to remain at the top of the chart in the committee of cocoa producing states.
He, therefore, appreciated them for choosing the state as a beneficiary of the project and also thanked the team for the training of agriculture extension officers.
Earlier, the project Director, Dr Agatha Kolawole said ACLAWA is a United States Department of Labour funded project, which is aimed at eliminating child labour in the ECOWAS region, particularly in the cocoa production sector of the economy.
She said that the project is in operation in 10 communities in Ondo State where they ensure communities’ participation towards eliminating child labour, which is known as Community Action Plan.
Kolawole said that whatever deprives any child from recreation or going to school is termed child labour and must be discouraged.
The Project Director added that they were training Agriculture Extension Officers to reach out to farmers on the need to discourage child labour in their farms.
She, therefore, urged the government to encourage parents to send their children to school especially at the grassroots where she noticed some challenges.