Farmer Co-operatives on the Path to Voluntary Sustainability Standards
In Tanzania, MARKUP, through Solidaridad East Africa, is supporting farmers and other value chain actors in selected sectors to leverage Voluntary Sustainability Standards for export competitiveness.
In mid-August 2021, To Certification and Beyond, managed by MARKUP Partner Solidaridad trained 87 teams working in the central processing units of coffee-processing plants in key factory standards and safety requirements. The participants were drawn from seven coffee farmers’ co-operatives (Lugari, Longa, Pilikano, Makonga, Litindo, Buruma and Lisau) and from Mbozi.
Workers in coffee plantations or farms face occupational health and safety risks such as injuries from cutting tools and machinery, hearing impairment through noisy machinery musculoskeletal injuries, pesticide exposure, respiratory issues due to coffee dust, sun exposure, snake and insect bites, long working hours and stress. Coffee plantations use agro-chemicals such as pesticides, insecticides and fungicides to control coffee rust and pests such as the coffee berry borer. All these hazards are detrimental to workers’ health when used without proper personal protection equipment. Occupational Health and Safety training enables the management to ensure a safe and healthy production environment and helps farmers to recognize safety hazards and correct them.
The workers were familiarised with the concepts of social responsibility, occupational health and safety, environmental responsibility and economic transparency. The teams were also sensitised in practical exercises to recognise likely hazards and to suggest corrective measure and ways of making factory workers aware of these hazards including through posters and warning signs. The training included a first aid course, following which the trainees received certificates Each team then elected two persons (one male and one female) as first aid practitioner and safety representative who will be providing first aid services for accidents or injury that might occur at the factory.