Civil Society Organizations in Kenya have provided 75,000 EUR aid to cushion flower workers from COVID-19 effects
Civil Society Organisations under Hivos East Africa’s Women@Work Campaign and the Kenya Flower Council (KFC) dispatched food packages and mobile money transfers worth approximately 75,000 euros (equivalent to KES 8 Million) to workers in selected flower farms.
A total of 7000 workers in the flower sector have received the rations as a relief measure due to disruption of income, as a result of COVID-19. Hundreds of permanent workers were sent home on paid and unpaid leave during the months of March and April, while seasonal workers have been rendered jobless. Although most flower farms, in recent weeks, have recalled their workers as exports to various markets continue to pick up, many are still at home and unemployed. The flower sub-sector employs over 200, 000 workers employed directly on the farms across the country.
“We have been implementing projects with the flower farms under our Women@Work programme – which advocates for good working conditions for workers in horticulture. It is only prudent for us to extend some support to the workers in this extraordinary period,” said Hivos East Africa’s Regional Director, Mendi Njonjo.
A study by Hivos East Africa on the effects of Corona Virus on women working in horticulture showed that majority of workers were struggling to buy food and worried about loss of income. Even as COVID-19 effects continue, Hivos underlines the importance of human rights, such as protection of the vulnerable and respect of human dignity to not only curtail the spread of the virus, but also cushion and safeguard women workers who stand to be the most affected.
“The flower industry is also one of the largest employers in the Kenya. The industry has an immense pool of highly skilled labour” says Clement Tulezi, Chief Executive Officer, Kenya Flower Council. “Workers are the backbone of the flower industry. KFC is delighted that through this gesture it is demonstrated how much workers are valued and their contribution appreciated.”
Clement Tulezi, CEO of Kenya Flower Council (KFC), said the sector is on a recovery trajectory thanks to reopening of export markets. “We are projecting that we shall recover by June 2021 and already farmers have recalled their entire workforce following the troubled period,” Mr. Tulezi told journalists in Naivasha. He said that flower exports stood at 70% from a low of 30% this year. He said the high flight charges combined with the attacks of the False Coddling Moth on fresh produce are the two major challenges currently facing the floriculture sector (see more here).
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