Educational programme for rehabilitation of child labourers: Bayer and Emergent Genetics agreed to financially support Naandi foundation to open motivation centers (creative learning centres) in 20 villages by Bayer and 10 villages by Monsanto for child labourers to mainstream them into formal schools.
Measures for safe use of pesticides and improving crop productivity: Bayer agreed to provide special training programmes for the farmers for safe use of pesticides and improved crop productivity.
Syngenta withdrawal from cottonseed production After the action plan was finalised, Syngenta communicated that, for business reasons, it would not have any cottonseed production in India for the 2005-06 crop season. However, they would continue their cooperation with other companies to address the problem. In December 2005 Syngenta sold its cottonseed business to Delta and Pineland, a US based company. In June 2007 Monsanto acquired Delta and Pineland Company.
Implementation of action plan 2005-06
During 2005-06 crop season Bayer produced cottonseed on 139 farms covering a total area of 275 acres in Kurnool and Mahaboobnagar districts, and Emergent Genetics on about 450 farms covering 760 acres in Kurnool, Mahaboobnagar, Cuddapah and Vijayanagaram districts in Andhra Pradesh. Implementation of the action plan began in July 2005. Joint committees were formed at different levels, i.e. state, district and mandal (sub-district). Bayer and Monsanto shared their cottonseed production details (list of farmers and production sites) with the NGOs. They also included a separate clause prohibiting use of children below 15 years in their contract agreements with seed farmers. A separate secretariat with one project director and five field staff (hereafter referred as Child Labour Elimination Project, or CLEP) was created to help the implementation of the programme. Awareness and motivation meetings were conducted for seed organisers and farmers.
Joint inspections of fields by representatives of seed companies and local NGOs, especially the MV Foundation, began in the last week of August 2005. Two rounds of inspections were made. During joint inspections several problems cropped up between the NGO and seed company representatives. The MV Foundation felt that local seed companies’ staff who participated in joint inspections were not properly educated and not very cooperative in implementing the joint action plan. During joint inspections few children were found, and when NGOs visited farms independently they found a higher number of children in the same farms. They felt that the seed company staff informed seed farmers in advance about the joint inspections. Therefore in September 2005 the MV Foundation withdrew from joint inspection of fields. This withdrawal was a major set - back to the entire joint initiative.