New guidelines to protect workers’ safety in banana industry

Mon 13/11/2017 by Richard Wilkinson

The banana is the world’s most valuable export market for fresh fruit, but until now, conditions for those working in the industry have not been good enough. This is why the FAO and the Ecuadorian government have published a handbook, which they presented at the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum in Geneva. The book is aimed to protect the interests of the thousands of families in developing countries around the world that rely on the industry for their livelihoods.

The publication contains advice for trainers and workers in the sector on how to manage risks on banana farms and how to carry out work more safely. It includes guidelines covering proper handling, storage and use of agrochemicals/pesticides, measures for adequate personal protection – including first aid in emergency situations – hygiene standards, information on ergonomic risks, ways to stop gender-related violence and other human rights abuses.

“This handbook is a great step forward in defence of workers’ rights. This pioneer initiative should be replicated in other banana producing countries,” said Ecuador’s Minister of Labour, Raúl Clemente Ledesma Huerta, speaking at the conference in Geneva, which brought together over 300 representatives from the banana sector and other stakeholders, including retailers, importers, producers, exporters, consumer associations, governments, academic institutions, United Nations agencies, trade unions and civil society organisations.

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