Labour Observatories for Agricultural Policymaking and Sustainable Development

Labour Observatories for Agricultural Policymaking and Sustainable Development

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4995-8.ch006
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Assimilation of relevant information within a labour observatory is a key to success of an observatory. Management of such relevant information and its dissemination to the right audience at the right time is also important. In this regard, a labour observatory plays a very important role for successful operationalization of agricultural policies within developing countries. Historical information regarding soil, crop varieties, agricultural practices, and skill of agricultural labourers needs to be maintained by a labour observatory. Information from the observatory has to be communicated to policy makers for making a pragmatic decision in developing countries with large agriculturally dependent populations. These decisions can impact the lives of this population and can impact the sustainable development of these countries. Initiatives related to labour observatory started more than a decade back in developed countries. It has now begun in parts of Africa, too. The chapter highlights these developments and contextualizes the association between these observatories, agricultural policymaking, and sustainable development.
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One year back while working on a paper dealing with certain aspects of employment guarantee programmes, the idea of labour observatory emerged. To further add to the context of labour observatory, preliminary question that emerges is - “what is a labour observatory?”. Simplistically, it is an observatory that would be a databank of all necessary and important information regarding labour markets at the grass root level viz. village, district. Such a databank would have information regarding historical skills, cost of labour, cropping pattern, seasonality of labour market. The next question is that how these information would be collected. One of the possible ways to do that would be by involving people on behalf of Ministry of Labour to collect the relevant data. There would be monetary resources that have to be allocated by the government to carry out such a data collection. Once the data is collected, it could be stored in an electronic form at the local level kiosk computers. Such data on grass root labour market could then be centralised and kept in password protected accounts or could be disseminated through wider electronic platform through electronic accounts.

Instances of operationalisation of national observatory for female labour and enterprise bears evidence to this kind of concept. In Europe this was conceptualized way back in 1996 (ONILFA, 1996).

Implementation of a labour observatory for female enterprise, agriculture sector was conceptualized in Europe during the 1990s. Thus, Brussels in 1996 saw voicing of the idea of establishment of an observatory for female enterprise, labour. This voice came out from various female representatives of professional agricultural organizations. With all these voices, Ministry of agriculture, food and forestry policies accepted the proposal for establishment of a labour observatory. Hence, the observatory got established in 1997 by the same ministry after a Ministerial Decree was passed and composed of 30 members representing institutions which are linked with the national agricultural and rural sectors of European Union. It is headed by a Minister and comprises of representatives from the following Ministries – viz. Ministry of Economy and Finance, Manufacturing Industries, Employment and Social Policy, Agricultural and Forestry Policy. It also has members of Equal Opportunities Department, agricultural organizations like CIA, Coldiretti, Confagricoltura and Copagri along with INEA, ISTAT. This observatory verifies the actual employment opportunities for women in rural areas of Europe and makes necessary strategies to implement actions in these rural areas so that the women get employed in these rural areas. In order to do that, the Observatory gathers, processes and creates statistical data. The observatory will also aim to assess and analyze the legislation that have been passed in respective EU states for employment of female household members of a village and give them equal opportunities. It will examine various actions that have been taken by central, regional governments of countries of European Union to promote female entrepreneurship in rural areas of Europe.

In order to do that the observatory will also do background research analyzing all background information regarding the status of rural female employment and entrepreneurship in the respective central and regional states. Additionally, it will promote pilot schemes in regions, autonomous provinces for generating employment of women in various rural enterprises. The observatory will also have to build larger awareness regarding rural women employment and their entrepreneurship through seminars, conferences. As a part of this awareness building, the observatory has initiated giving awards to women entrepreneurs for their contribution in the development of agriculture of Italy.

It will also provide information on how women employment in rural areas can promote development and what measures are required from public administration to implement them. This information will be disseminated through their website. Hence, this kind of thinking and its subsequent implementation has already been observed in developed countries. They are also being observed in the case of countries like Wales along with the European labour observatory.

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