Harvesting Hunger. Plantation Workers and the Right to Food

MISEREOR, IUF und FIAN publish a study on working conditions in tea plantations.

The study "Harvesting Hunger. Plantation Workers and the Right to Food" highlights the cata-strophic situation on plantations. It was published in October 2014 by MISEREOR, the Interna-tional Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers‘ Associations (IUF), and the human rights organisation FIAN.

Working conditions on many plantations have severely deteriorated on over recent decades particularly because of the huge price pressure on the plantation industry, says the study. In the main tea-growing regions of the world it has become impossible to pay a living wage. The study argues that major food corporations and market-dominating supermarket chains bear a heavy responsibility for this because they squeeze prices down to the lowest possible level.

Taking the example of the tea sector, the study shows how the extremely inadequate wages paid in plantation regions result in a clear violation of the human right to food. Over 30 per cent of children under the age of five are stunted and chronically undernourished in practically all the key tea producing regions of Sri Lanka, Kenya and India. Plantation workers are particularly exposed to risk when complete production units are driven out of the market and abandoned because they are not able to compete. The consequences are dramatic and, as the study shows, have even lead to plantation workers dying from hunger.