On May 16, the Ecuador Minister of Labour, Raul Clemente Ledesma Huerta, formalized the adoption of a Health and Safety Manual for the Banana Industry as a mandatory framework for the whole sector.
Labour inspectors will now have the power to carry out comprehensive inspections in terms of safety, occupational health, and comprehensive risk management. This should be carried out within the scope of their territorial jurisdiction, on work places where banana activity is carried out.
"Thousands of workers will be protected"
The Health and Safety Manual for the Banana Industry was presented to hundreds of representatives of the sector by the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Rubén Flores, along with John Preissing, representative of the United Nations Organization for Food and Agriculture (FAO) in Ecuador.
Speaking at the event, the Minister of Labour, Raúl Ledesma Huerta said:
"This tool is not just a manual, but an agreement; a legal norm of compliance that makes clear that in Ecuador there will be no labor slavery and that thousands of workers will be protected.”
A World Benchmark
He also said that he considered the Health and Safety Manual for the Banana Industry to be a world benchmark. This is because it will ensure workers are clear about their risks and how to minimize them.
The document is a fundamental tool that allows all players to understand how to properly manage the entire banana production process and identify potential risks. Minister Flores added that the next challenge will be to apply the manual ethically.
The official event was held at the beginning of the training courses led by Solidaridad in the province of Oro to introduce the manual.
Download the official manuals below (in Spanish)
Manual de Seguridad y Salud para la Industria Bananera (Workers)
Manual de Seguridad y Salud para la Industria Bananera (Trainers)
The manual is a result of the Banana Occupational Health and Safety project from Solidaridad, World Banana Forum, Banana Link and partners. This project focuses on a Latin American country (Ecuador) and an African country (Cameroon), in order to have a reference in both continents. It has the potential to improve health and safety throughout the global banana sector. This is necessary as banana production is subject to high risks for people and environment, largely related to the high use of agrochemicals to control pests en diseases.
Find out more about Solidaridad's work in South America here.