Sue Longley, IUF.
"We have to make the banana sector attractive to women," says Christel of Compagnie Fruitière during the World Banana forum. The French company is primarily active in the banana cultivation in West Africa and is one of the largest employers in some countries. "So that women can develop a career within the banana sector, we have to banish any form of discrimination." Special attention to pregnant women and the mothers of small children is important in this.
Alette van Leur on ILO.
Covenants not signed
What also plays a role is the intensity of the work on the plantations, where there are long working days and heavy tools are used. "There are various factors in play, including the limited access to services," according to Alette van Leur of ILO. A social dialogue is the solution, she believes, in which the various factors are on the agenda. The labourers in the banana sector are exposed to more chemical substances, she believes. Employees in the agrarian sector have a higher chance of dying on the job. The ILO therefore wrote certain covenants, but the covenant on health and safety in the workplace was only signed by sixteen countries. "And the big banana producing countries are not among them," according to Alette.
The Ecuadorian minister of Agriculture Raul Clemente Ledesma Huerta.
Ecuador presents handbook
The Ecuadorian government has taken into use a handbook to improve the safety of the labourers in the banana cultivation. "It's important that labourers have a safe workplace," according to the Ecuadorian minister of Agriculture Raul Clemente Ledesma Huerta. "In general terms labourers in agriculture run a higher risk." Although the risks differ per sector. "In the sugar sector labourers have more chance of being bitten by a snake than in banana cultivation, but the handbook can also be used for that sector."