Sugar is the largest and one of the most complex agricultural commodities in the world. While the sugarcane industry generates significant levels of rural employment, supporting some 100 million livelihoods, intense competition, weather fluctuations and price volatility make it difficult for smallholders to cover their production costs, which may increase the likelihood of child labour and other decent work deficits and constrain investment in sustainable production practices.

This report, researched and written by Ergon for the ILO’s Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch, surveys the sector globally to identify the key labour challenges, with a¬† focus on child labour. It also makes recommendations for the ILO to use as a tool to engage with businesses and other partners in the sugarcane sector, with child labour as a starting point. These recommendations will be used to make greater progress in the elimination of child labour and the realization of other fundamental rights at work.