Child Labour In Guar Farming and Guar Gum Processing Industry

Child Labour In Guar Farming and Guar Gum Processing Industry

Child labour is major social problem/issue in Agriculture. In some under developed countries child labor is used for the agricultural production/ farming and further process. Some crops are labor intensive and they require extensive labor to complete the agricultural operations. Like paddy plantation, Cotton harvesting, Vegetable farming required bulk labors, Some time labor is not available or costly then child labor is used to complete the operations. Some greedy parents and contractors make a nexus and right of the child are abused, they are used to make more and more money.

About Guar 

Guar is a vegetable crop traditionally grown in western Rajasthan. The Guar farming is also scattered in nearby areas of western Rajasthan, like south Punjab, south west and west Haryana, north west Gujarat and neighboring country Sindh (Pakistan). As per last year crop cultivation data Guar crop is being cultivated on 30,00,000 (3 Million) Hectares of Area. The climatic condition of this region is hot and dry. Guar crop is taken as monsoon crop or rainy period from last of June to Mid of November. 

The opportunity cost of Guar crop farming is almost zero, means farmers take the guar crop as the last option. Either he will leave his farm bran or he will take Guar crop. If the rainfall is good and on time then farmer prefers to take other crops (millets, pulses, oilseed, cereals) instead of Guar crops. As per current conditions around 95%-98% Guar farming is rain fed or based on natural rainfall only. No Artificial irrigation is given to Guar crop. Sometimes farmers give lifesaving irrigation to guar crops if he has extra water or other source of irrigation. Generally the farmers who have irrigation source or irrigation water they go for the other crop over guar crop.

Child Labour In Guar Farming and Guar Gum Processing Industry, Guar , guar gum, guar gum cultivation
Child Labor Foot Prints In Guar Farming and Guar Gum Processing Industry

Labor Required in Guar Farming and Guar Gum processing

Guar is a rain fed crop grown in desert areas. In Desert, the land sizes are very big in comparison to other areas. Mostly guar farms are very big in size. If climatic conditions are favorable then Guar farming faces a lot of labor shortage. There are various stages of guar crop cycle where labor is required to complete the operations like Sowing, weeding, Nutrients application, agrochemical application, Harvesting, Threshing, loading, unloading and transportation. Since the cropping season is the same in entire region so the timing of these operations also remains the same. The requirement of labor used to also increases suddenly at the same time.

Earlier Guar farming was completed by the Animal Drawn equipment and manually. Generally whole family used to engage in guar farming. Every family member used contributes in operation. Even Children were also involved in agricultural operations. Sometime hired labour used to also come with whole family and the child were used to engage in guar farming knowingly or unknowingly. Even these practices are also followed in some backward community and families where the numbers of Children are high. These factors will be discussed later. 

Generally child labours foot prints are not found in guar farming area and guar gum processing industry. The Scenario of child labour foot print has changed now a day. There are various factors that keep the child labour away from Guar farming.

Structure of the Guar plant (Cyamopsis tetragonoloba)

There are minor white transparent spikes on guar plant. These spikes are found on entire plant including stem, leaves, pods and branches. Generally these spikes are very soft at initial stage.  As plant mature and move toward completion of the life cycle. These Spikes become very hard and dry. As it comes in contact of skin then it start itching.  If the skin is soft specially the skin of non-labourer person or Children, then itching hurts hard. They can’t stand or stay in guar farm more than 10-15 minutes if the skin is exposed to guar plant. The itching will keep continue for whole day. Children in guar farming area knows this property and they dotn enter in guar farm. No parent wants that their children should go in Guar farm. Even hired labour doesn’t prefer to do take labour work in Guar farm. The skin of farmers are harder so they feel lesser itching. Even regular guar farmers enter in Guar farm with complete cover. Guar plant itself asks non farmer and children to keep away.

Guar Growing Belt in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Pakistan

Lesser Number of Children 

Earlier there were more children so a group of children used to go to farms but now the number of children has dropped to 2-3. Due to lesser number is children, Farmers take care their children properly and they don’t want that their children leave their study/school and go to farm with them. Scenario has changed, children goes to school regularly and stay away from working in Guar fields.

Guar Farms are larger in size

Guar Filed are very big in size and production is lower in rain fed farms. Children can’t work in big farms. It required a full capacity labour. Since size of farm is big children can’t work properly and they make more wastage while working. Due to big farm it is very hard to collect all the wastage. When the farms are small or crop is densely cultivated then any one can’t work in field. But in guar farm if unskilled worker work then he makes a lots of losses.

Lesser Farm operations

In guar farming the farming operation is lesser in comparison to other crops. So the requirement of the labor is not frequently. After the sowing labor is required at the time of harvesting. Harvesting can't be completed by the children. Because of the itching caused by the guar plant no one goes to guar farm at the time of harvesting except skilled labors. Even at the time threshing of seeds the duct contains the spikes and no one goes close to threshing sites

Use of Mechanical Agricultural implements 

Earlier farmers used to do the guar farming by manually or animals but now they use tractors and machines. Tractors and machines are more efficient. Even there is shortage of the labor and labor is not efficient in guar farming. For the sowing there are tractors, For agrochemicals there are spray machines, for harvesting there are harvesting machine / combine, for threshing there are threshing machines. Transportation is done by the tractors. The dependence on hired labor is going down day by day.

Guar Growing Belt in Rajasthan, Haryana, Punjab, Pakistan

Automatic Guar Gum Processing plants

Guar seed is first processed to the guar splits. After that they process the guar splits into the guar gum power. Guar gum powder is further processed into some modified guar gum powder. Previously guar processing industry was manual, a lot of labors were required but now things have changed. The plants have turned to fully automatic plants; some plants are PLC based plants. Labor requirements for these processing plants are very low. These plants require only highly skilled professionals. There are no possibilities of child labor foot prints in these guar gum processing plants.

Awareness of community,

Except few backward communities most of guar farmers come from progressions communities. They are all aware about the drawback of child labor. They don't employ the child labor. Guar farming is not a year around job opportunity. People/labor avoid working in guard field. 


The entire value chain of guar is child labor free. In general no foot print of the child labor is noticed. Generally farmers in Guar growing belt are progressing and they give importance to child education over the labor work. The results of this mind set are also visible. Most of children of these farmers are taking higher education. After the education they prepare for competitive examinations and get selected for the well paid government Jobs.

In some backward religious communities which have more numbers of children due to illiteracy they follow the practices of Child labor the entire farmer's family member keeps working if agricultural farms. This type of under-educated religious community lives in Barmer, Jaisalmer and Jodhpur Districts. Their religious leadership orders them to attend the religious education system. Government and private organizations must create awareness about eradication of child labor in agriculture. 

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