Next year, 250 to 300 people will travel from Honduras to Huelva to work in the berry collection campaign as part of a trial to expand the number of countries that supply labor with contracts at source for Huelva's agricultural season as in the last two years the sector has had great problems repatriating thousands of Moroccan seasonal workers after the harvesting season ended. The issue was addressed by the Commission on management, coordination, and socio-labor integration of migratory flows in seasonal agricultural campaigns held this Tuesday, which was attended by officials from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration, and representatives of business, agricultural organizations and union.
The Commission informed its members about the decision taken by the Council of Ministers on May 25 to authorize the signing of an agreement between the Kingdom of Spain and the Government of Honduras for the regulation and management of the migratory flow of labor between the two countries, which includes hiring at source and established the conditions for seasonal jobs.
According to the Secretary of Mobility and Migration Policies of UPA Andalusia, Manuel Piedra, who attended the meeting, the Honduran workers will come in a single plane and on dates that are yet to be decided, probably between February and March. If the experience is positive, the quota of seasonal workers from Honduras may be increased in the following years and it could even be expanded to other countries, such as Ecuador, he stated.
Polish day laborers were the first
Huelva was the first Spanish province that directly hired foreign workers in their countries to cover the demand for labor in the berry campaign.
The contracts at source were launched in 2001 with the arrival of thousands of seasonal workers from Poland (mainly), Romania, and Bulgaria, to Huelva's fields. However, once the three countries joined the EU - between 2004 and 2007 - and the workers from Eastern Europe were already community citizens, they stopped coming to the strawberry campaign with contracts at source, although they have continued to work in Huelva with formalized contracts.
Berry entrepreneurs then opted to contract people from Morocco, whose first contingent arrived in 2006. Since then it has been by far the largest group of foreign workers in Huelva's greenhouses.
"The people who arrive from Honduras will not come to replace the Moroccan workers, but they will open a new way to increase the possibilities of hiring at origin that Huelva's berry campaign requires each year," Manuel Piedra stressed.