AGRICULTURE 

The COVID-19 crisis affects agriculture. The main problems are transport to and from the fields, accommodation for the agricultural workers who do not have the right space and a shortage of protective equipment on the fields. 

  • May 20 - Labour migrants in the meat sector in the Netherlands run a high risk of COVID-19 because they work closely together in slaughterhouses. They live with many people on small areas and are taken to and from the slaughterhouse in vans. Keeping a distance turns out to be impossible.
  • May 19 - The COVID 19 crisis in Asia contributes to conflicts over land. Farmers are often unable to reach their land because of the ban on eviction, as are indigenous people who have to avoid the forest. As a result, illegal loggers have a free hand.
  • May 19 - In India, environmental requirements for mining and industry have been relaxed during COVID-19. It is not possible to protest against this, because of the strict lock-down that applies in the country. Conflicts over territory grow because of this.  
  • May 13 - According to experts, the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the risk of child labour in the cocoa sector in Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana. This is because schools are closed and there is more economic pressure on families due to the closure of certain sectors. 
  • May 11 - In many slaughterhouses in Germany and the Netherlands, numerous infections with COVID-19 have occurred among workers. Most of the workers in the meat processing industry are Eastern European temporary workers employed through subcontractors. The workers are usually housed in very poor conditions where hygiene regulations cannot be met because of COVID-19.
  • April 28 - The demand and price for tea of certain provenances has fallen sharply. Some of the major tea auctions have been suspended or postponed. The three-week suspension in India interrupted the harvest of the first picking and prevented the necessary care of the tea bushes. African tea origins have also been affected by the drop in market demand and port restrictions. Tea workers, who often live in poverty, are particularly vulnerable.
  • April 28 - Although Fairtrade coffee sales have remained strong thanks to retail sales, global coffee prices are currently very volatile due to uncertainty in the commodity markets. This puts producers in extreme uncertainty and threatens their livelihoods. In several regions where large quantities of coffee are produced, such as Honduras and Peru, freedom of movement is severely restricted, which will affect the harvesting, transport and grinding of coffee. Another factor affecting coffee sales is the inability of producers to provide samples of coffee lots to buyers. Purchases are often held up by the closure of trading offices, as traders work from home and cannot come to their laboratories to take samples.
  • April 28 - According to the Kenya Flower Council, the industry is losing an estimated $300,000 a day due to COVID-19, which disposes of 50 tons of flowers every day. Tens of thousands of workers on Fairtrade certified flower farms have lost their jobs with no local alternatives and there is growing concern about the long-term financial stability of flower farms if product shipments to Europe are not resumed soon.
  • April 28 - The farming community in the United States is at risk during the COVID-19 crisis. Transportation to and from the fields is often impossible. Agriculture has been identified as an essential occupation, so transport congestion persists. In addition, many places of residence of farm workers do not offer enough space to keep their distance, and the large numbers of people living together make it difficult to maintain hygiene levels. 
  • April 23 - In Brazil there is more deforestation in the Amazon. As a result, the habitat of indigenous peoples is increasingly degraded and they are more likely to come into contact with people outside their group. These people are not accustomed to many diseases and an outbreak of COVID-19 can be disastrous.
  • April 23 - On tea plantations in Sri Lanka, workers fear spread of COVID-19. There are few or no masks available, while they are mandatory in the country. Hands cannot be washed during the working day. Living conditions are another concern: dwellings are small and crowded. Sanitary facilities must be shared. 
  • April 14 - Due to a lack of manpower in agriculture, harvests in Germany are at stake. For this reason, it is exceptionally allowed that a group of migrant workers from Romania may enter the country to help in German agriculture. This causes a stir, because distance in airplanes and different agricultural practices cannot be guaranteed and contaminations can flare up again.    
  • April 3- Workers on banana plantations in Ecuador often have respiratory problems due to exposure to high amounts of pesticides. This leads to fears of getting COVID-19, which is often more serious for people with underlying diseases. Inadequate safety measures have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus on the plantations. However, not coming is not an option: this equates to being fired.