HRW report one-sided, malicious: Agri SA

2011-08-23 18:41

kalahari.com

Cape Town - Agri SA has rejected the Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on human rights conditions in South Africa's fruit and wine industries as being "one-sided, malicious, unfair, and highly irresponsible".

"Agri SA questions the research methodology and therefore the credibility of the relevant findings," Agri SA president Johannes Möller said on Tuesday.

He said that it should be noted that all deciduous fruit export farms, which were the focus of the HRW investigation, were third party accredited for GlobalGap (good agricultural practices) and Ethical Trade certified as required by the international retail trade.

"It is therefore highly unlikely that the allegations as contained in the report could be a true reflection of prevailing circumstances on farms in the Western Cape," Möller said.

What’s in the report

The HRW report, released earlier on Tuesday, said workers in the province who helped produce South Africa's renowned wines and fruit were denied adequate housing, proper safety equipment, and basic labour rights.

Government, along with the industries employing these labourers, should take immediate steps to improve their working and housing conditions, it said.

The 96-page report - "Ripe with Abuse: Human Rights Conditions in South Africa's Fruit and Wine Industries" - documented conditions that included on-site housing unfit for living, exposure to pesticides without proper safety equipment, lack of access to toilets or drinking water while working, and efforts to block workers from forming unions.

Möller said Agri SA and its affiliates subscribed to national legislation and international norms on labour standards and required from its farmer members to do so as well with due regard to the valued contributions of farm workers to the success of the farming industry and the need to treat them accordingly.

"Where real problems do exist, Agri SA and its affiliates are committed to assist in finding solutions," he said.

"Agri SA will also not protect any farmer who is guilty of human rights abuses or serious breaches of the law and demands that due legal process should be followed."

Small percentage of industry interviewed

Agri SA questioned the adequacy and composition of the research sample of 260 people. Of these, 85 were apparently farm workers, 32 former farm workers, and 16 farm dwellers.

"How can such a small, and probably carefully selected sample ever be used to describe the situation of 121 000 farm workers," he asked.

Only 14 farm owners or representatives of farm owners were interviewed representing less than 0.3% of the about 5 000 producers in the Western Cape.

A wide spectrum of representatives from other organisations formed the balance of the sample.

‘Objective, authoritative research needed’

The report stated that, "in many cases interviews with farm workers or farm dwellers were arranged with the assistance of organisations that work with or provide services to those populations. Trade unions facilitated interviews with some of their members".

Möller said this resulted in a situation where 161 of those that were interviewed were not directly involved in farming.

"Some of those organisations are also known to be antagonistic towards commercial farmers as well as organised agriculture and have in the past been unwilling to co-operate with the farmer organisations to address alleged transgressions collectively. Agri SA's input was largely ignored.

"It is a potentially dangerous situation for agriculture if perceptions are created by the outcomes of impaired research on which policy decisions could be based."

Agri SA would therefore welcome objective and authoritative research into the labour conditions on farms as well as into the drivers of certain trends.

"For this reason Agri SA is consulting with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) as an independent body to facilitate such research," Möller said.
- SAPA

Read more on:    hrw  |  agri sa  |  johannes moller  |  land
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
15 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Goodwood - 08:14 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Giel Basson Drive and the N7 Highway Interchange
  • Monday Paarden Eiland - 08:09 AM
    Road name: Marine Drive Southbound
    DELAYS approaching the N1 Highway
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 3G 9300

Keep it together Text. Email. Social. With all the different ways to...

From R2499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.