One of the goals of the Sugar Industry Foundation is to mitigate child labor in the rural areas particularly in the sugarcane farms. It includes the numerous working children engaged in work in their own farms, farms of neighbors, or neighboring towns.
The IACAP or Integrated ARBO CL (Child Labor) and PPE (personal protective equipment) Program and Services, an initiative under the SIFI-RSS Program, is an ARBO institutionalized initiative geared towards ensuring the safety and protection of children and workers in sugar farm. The program aims to reduce or eliminate child labor practices in the sugar farming communities.
One of IACAP Program’s intervention is engaging children in activities that are non-hazardous and income-generating. In quarter 2 of 2021, SIFI-RSS launched the vegetable garden and vermicomposting by children.
To date, children from 6 Agrarian Reform Beneficiary Organizations (ARBOs) remain active. These are Nabinay ARC (NARC), San Juan Torena ARC (SJTARC), and Gracia FA (GFA) in Cadiz City and Sto. Tayap Upper FWA (STUFAWA), De Fuego Multi-purpose Agri & FA (DFMPAFA) and Assn. of San German ARBs (ASGARB) in Silay City.
Five out of these 6 ARBOs established a vegetable garden, while Nabinay ARC went into vermicomposting. A total of 61 children, ages 8 to 17 years old and all are children of sugar farmer members of ARBOs, are actively participating in this undertaking. At least 2 – 3 children, ages 15 – 17 years old, admitted working in their farms.
The children shared that they were very excited with their projects and they appreciated the learning sessions on vegetable gardening and vermicomposting. The children are also looking forward to receive their shares from the sale of their produce come December 2021.
Aside from the learning sessions and practical applications on vegetable gardening and vermicomposting, SIFI-RSS also provided the support in technical inputs (like managing diseases, putting up trellis, review of planting protocols per crop), farm-site sessions, and monitoring.
SIFI-RSS also provided Nestlé pack incentives for children. Each pack consists of 1 Milo twin pack (16 sachets), Bear Brand Powdered Milk Drink (10 sachets), and 1 Chuckie pack (4 pcs.).
The IACAP or Integrated ARBO CL (Child Labor) and PPE (personal protective equipment) Program and Services was established last February 2021.