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Article

7 May 2020

Author:
Oxfam International

Commentary: Food workers in global supply chains are on the frontline of COVID-19

"Food workers on the frontline of coronavirus", May 2020

...Food workers throughout global supply chains are on the frontline of the coronavirus... Now more than ever supermarkets and their suppliers must uphold and protect the rights of all the workers and producers who are risking their lives...

[In India] worker unions have reported that tea pickers are facing increased hardship, hunger and health-risks due to the lockdown. Of the 14 tea estates that one union visited, no tea pickers have received wages for the lockdown period and only one estate has provided workers with their rice ration. As tea picking has partially resumed on some tea estates, the union told Oxfam that plantation managers haven’t installed adequate handwashing and hygiene facilities. There are also limited quarantine and health facilities should workers fall ill...

Oxfam partners in Brazil and Ecuador who work with fruit pickers have all reported the potential additional risks that workers face from coronavirus due to effects of long-term exposure to pesticides and fertilisers...

Small-scale producers, who often sell directly to markets, have already lost their customer base as markets across the world are closing... As incomes are lost, food workers and producers are pushed further into poverty...

Part of the following stories

Workers in agricultural supply chains among groups most at risk of COVID-19 infection

India: Thousands of tea workers protest over unpaid wages during COVID-19 lockdown