Harvesting the Future takes important steps in addressing labour conditions in Turkey

24th November 2021

Harvesting the Future is the first SAI Platform project to address labour conditions, focusing on migrant agricultural workers in supply chains in Turkey. Launched in 2019, the project aimed to align industry understanding of on-the-ground risks to agricultural workers and the interventions needed to improve working conditions and employment practices.

Partnering with the Fair Labor Association (FLA), Harvesting the Future provided a unique opportunity for project members to cooperate on a large-scale across multi-commodity supply chains. Key stakeholders included buyers, suppliers, Turkey’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security, labour intermediaries, and the workers themselves.

Leah Blechschmidt, Project Manager, SAI Platform commented, “There is a direct link between the economic stability of farmers and farm workers, their working and living conditions, and the long-term sustainability of the agriculture sector. By partnering with FLA, SAI Platform has helped empower members to better understand risks within their supply chains and work towards mitigating those issues.”

SAI Platform is excited to share the project’s key learning points with our members through a case study, which is now available here. A more detailed overview of project findings can be found here, in the technical report from the Fair Labor Association, which provides in-depth reporting on the project KPIs and statistics on labour intermediary, producer, and worker demographics.

Building off previous work from the Fair Labor Association, the Harvesting the Future project mapped the movements of seasonal migrant workers across six commodities throughout the agricultural season. Six key risk areas were identified including child labour, hazardous work, informal work, excessive working hours, minimum wages and access to basic services such as hygiene and sanitation.

The needs of workers, farmers and labour intermediaries were assessed through data collection and interviews and a common standard for seasonal labour working conditions was agreed. Compliance was promoted through increased stakeholder engagement and training.

The emergence of the global Covid-19 pandemic created challenges including delayed inspections and training sessions but also helped accelerate improved access to safe and hygienic working conditions.

Across the life of the project, 20 supply chains and over 9000 workers’ movements were mapped. Training was provided to 89 participants from companies and suppliers, as well as 105 labour intermediaries responsible for recruiting workers in Turkey. By pooling resources and leveraging on-the-ground experts and regional expertise, Harvesting the Future was successful in implementing positive change across key commodities in the region.

The Fair Labor Association are hosting an online webinar on Wednesday 15th December to discuss the outcomes of the project and next steps. A panel of business and civil society representatives and child rights practitioners, including SAI Platform Project Manager, Leah Blechschmidt, have been invited to share their experiences. You can register for the webinar here.

For more information on the Harvesting the Future Project, please contact Leah Blechschmidt, Project Manager, SAI Platform