The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Gbankula Cashew Farmers Association in the Bole District, Mr. Adam Tampuri, has warned cashew farmers in the area, to refrain from engaging minors or persons under the age of 18, as farm labourers within the Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba Districts.
According to him, it was completely against the laws of this country, and also an abuse of the fundamental human rights of the children, to work under such difficult conditions.
Mr. Tampuri threatened legal action against any farmer, who would dare exploit the children as farm labourers, instead of engaging matured persons, who would demand high amounts after work.
Speaking at the opening of a one-day annual review meeting of the Cashew Farmers Association in Bole recently, the CEO noted that the constitution of the association, also debarred the use of pregnant women and nursing mothers in the application of agro-chemicals on farms, and cautioned the members against contravening the law.
He explained that the association was established six years ago, to increase cashew production in the Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba districts, to offer employment opportunities to the teaming youth in the two districts, who were virtually idle due to lack of employment.
It was also formed to offer support to women, to undergo income-generating activities, through small scale processing.
It is also to collectively ensure good producer prices for member farmers, and strive to gain access to production inputs, and credit facilities from government, and other financial institutions.
The Association, according to Mr. Tampuri, had a target of gaining huge access to both domestic and international markets, use cashew farming as tool for reforestation and prevent desertification, grow cashew for medicinal purposes, as well as to seek the general welfare of the members.
He disclosed that the association currently had a total membership of 1,000 farmers, drawn from various zones in the Bole and Sawla-Tuna-Kalba districts.
Mr. Tampuri stressed that the number was expected to rise to 3,000 by the end of the year 2011, due to an intensive membership drive, currently going on, to promote the growth of the association.