Article 64, of the Children and Adolescents Act ensures that adolescents of up to fourteen years old receive school grants.
More than 300 people met on Tuesday afternoon, August 30, in order to attend the 3rd Awareness Cycle on farmers’ occupational health and safety and child and adolescent protection, sponsored by SindiTabaco (Interstate Tobacco Industry Union), associated companies and Afubra (Brazilian Tobacco Growers Association). Tobacco farmers, health agents, tutorship council agents, trade unions, school principals, authorities, agricultural advisors from associated companies and the press attended the event held at the Community and Parish Hall of Sagrado Coração de Jesus Church, in Rio Azul. On Thursday, September 01, the Cycle’s last event will be held in Rio Negro (PR), at Sociedade União, starting at 1pm.
This is the Cycle’s third edition, which has been held in twelve cities of the State of Rio Grande do Sul and two from the State of Santa Catarina, bringing together some 6,000 people between 2009 and 2011. This year, in addition to the seminars in Rio Grande do Sul, the event will be held in Santa Catarina and Paraná. The expansion is part of the agreement signed before the Labor Prosecution Office of Brasília. “The provisions of the agreement are in accordance with a policy adopted by the sector which is geared towards the education of children and adolescents, children of rural farmers, and better quality of life for tobacco farmers. Furthermore, the international market now requires that sustainable products be in accordance with issues related to social responsibility and environmental preservation”, said Iro Schünke, SindiTabaco’s president, during the opening.
According to Afubra’s vice-president, Mario Ilo Grützmacher, tobacco generates income and development in rural areas, but responsible production is necessary. “Many things have changed and it is necessary to evolve, both in issues related to health and security, as well as with respect to child and adolescent protection”, he said. Rio Azul is the biggest producer of tobacco in Paraná, with 2,500 tobacco farmers, who produced 10,373 tons of the Virginia type in the 2009/2010 harvest (Source: Afubra).
Vicente Solda, Rio Azul’s mayor, was thankful for everyone’s attendance at the event and praised the initiative of the productive chain entities. “Tobacco makes the largest contribution to the city’s economy, including municipal services. It is extremely important that our farmers adapt to this new context, so that we can keep on exporting a high-quality product. The public powers must support decisions that keep farmers in rural areas, thus generating income and economy for the region”, stated Solda.
Tips on occupational health and safety in several stages of tobacco production, such as at the time of applying toxic products and the importance of wearing the appropriate clothes during the harvest, were addressed in a video presented following the opening. The event continued with a lecture on the rights of children and adolescents delivered by Professor Dr. Ana Paula Motta Costa, who has vast experience in that area.
“The history of child labor is old, as families used to have lots of kids in order to have an available workforce. Back then, a child’s life wasn’t very different from that of an adult. Times have changed, though, and not only by virtue of specific laws, but also through the adoption of new technologies for increasing mechanization. These factors place the knowledge necessary to manage land at another level, thus requiring higher levels of education”, she said. According to the professor, adolescents need consistent references to grow and develop, in that it is necessary to stop believing that we only learn to work by working. “Children and adolescents learn the value of work and discipline through the examples given by their parents and through performing activities that are compatible with their age”, she reckoned.
THE PROVISIONS OF THE LAW – According to the Federal Constitution of Brazil, individuals under the age of 16 are prohibited from working, except as apprentices. However, adolescent labor is prohibited from 16 to 18 years of age in the conditions listed in decree No. 6,481 dated Jun 12, 2008, as the worst forms of labor. The tobacco production and processing as well as spraying, handling and application of toxic products are included in that list.
The humorous drama play Rádio Fascinação, by group Espaço Camarim, from Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), was the seminar’s closing event, as artists interacted with the audience so as to recapitulate on the most important topics addressed in the meeting.
Andreoli MSL Brasil
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