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7 Jun 2016

Fresh Fruit Portal

Costa Rica & Ecuador: Oxfam reports on labour abuses & “inhumane conditions” in pineapple & banana farms sold in Germany

“Oxfam report takes aim at Ecuadorian, Costa Rican tropical fruit industries”, 2 Jun 2016

The report “Sweet Fruit, Bitter Truth” has prompted conflicting stories between Oxfam’s German arm and certifier the Rainforest Alliance. Oxfam-DE has alleged inhumane conditions exist on many Costa Rican pineapple farms and Ecuadorian banana operations…[and] points the final blame at Germany’s leading retailers. [T]he NGO alleges underpayment, dangerous pesticide exposure and inhumane living conditions…The NGO claimed interviewees worked on pineapple farms affiliated with Agricola Agromonte, Finca Once, Dole Costa Rica, and banana farms affiliated with Palmar, the Rainforest Alliance, Matias Plantage/Tropical Fruit Export S.A., Reybanpac and WWF/Edeka. The report also referenced other players in the supply chain that source products from some of these companies, including Afrikanische Fruchtcompagnie GmbH, Cobana/Fruchtring, Univeg, Staay Hispa, OGL Food Trade Lebensmittelvertrieb and Edeka Fruchtkontor…Finca Once president…said he and his executive employees were “shocked and horrified” about the investigation report.In his response…[he] denied that any workers received below the wages required by law, and emphasized the majority of the farm’s Nicaraguan workers were not part of a seasonal labor force but worked regular, daily hours….Tropical Fruit Export S.A. general manager….said…“The wage issue is heavily regulated in Ecuador so this allegation is completely unfounded.”…In another response, the Rainforest Alliance and the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) said they took the allegations in the report very seriously…