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IUF's message to OECD agriculture ministers - don't ignore workers

20 April 2016 News
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oecdsmThe Trade Union delegation to the 2016 OECD meeting of Agriculture Ministers on Better Policies to Achieve a Productive, Sustainable and Resilient Global Food System made a strong call for decent work in agriculture to be at the heart of food policies.

Led by Barbara Binder, member of the IUF's Agricultural Trade Group Board and from FGA-CFDT, France,  the delegation expressed concern that the meeting's background paper completely failed to acknowledge the contribution of agricultural and food workers to achieving global food security. Binder insisted on "the need to reduce poverty in rural areas by respect of  fundamental and sector specific ILO conventions".

The trade union statement to the meeting called on the OECD Ministers to adopt policies which:

  • encourage agro-ecology,  
  • increase global efforts to eliminate child labour in agriculture and promote gender sensitive agricultural employment policies,
  • promote policies which ensure that national labour law protections extend to agricultural rural workers and strengthening rural labour inspection.

The trade union side welcomed the commitment in the final declaration (summary here)  that OECD agriculture minister "should also ensure that policies contribute to reducing poverty and improving working conditions and economic opportunities for farm workers, small holders and vulnerable rural populations" but expressed concern that much of the focus remained on increasing trade liberalisation in agricultural products.