Harvesting the Future – the first SAI Platform project addressing human rights

11th June 2021

The Harvesting the Future project is one of a kind for SAI Platform and the food and drink industry at large. It is the first SAI Platform project to address human rights issues, focusing on the urgent need to address responsible recruitment in agricultural labour in Turkey. The project’s cross-commodity approach is unique. 

Agricultural labour in Turkey is seasonal and migratory which, in the past, has made it possible for the human rights of workers to potentially be disregarded. 

SAI Platform members with interests in the region and awareness of the issues were keen to make recruitment in Turkey more responsible. They began working together in the Harvesting the Future project initiated via Spotlight.

Project members soon discovered that the Fair Labor Association (FLA) was gearing up to do something similar. This created an opportunity to collaborate and substantially increase the project’s impact. 

After the FLA agreed to join forces with SAI Platform, members interested in supply chain mapping and supporting FLA activities came together to work on the project.

It builds on previous work done by the FLA which established that the workforce in Turkey moves between the supply chains of several large multinational companies sourcing apricot, cumin, grape, hazelnut, corn, potato, pistachio, sugar beet and sunflower seeds.

In 2020, the FLA mapped the supply chains of participating companies and provided training to labour contractors, suppliers, and government representatives on the principles of fair recruitment, decent work and addressing child labour. 

The FLA also identified and profiled labour contractors to understand how the labour force is recruited and what were the current health and safety challenges. Many of these labour contractors were also registered with the national registry, increasing supply chain compliance with legal requirements. 

As the first phase of the Harvesting the Future project is coming to a close, tools developed by the FLA will increase the capacity of SAI Platform members to map their own supply chains. 

A technical report and case study outlining project activities will be available later this summer along with various webinars starting in September to share the learnings and outcomes of phase 1 of the Harvesting the Future project. 

A second phase of the project is now underway and focuses on the six priority areas identified during phase 1 of this project, specifically: child labour remediation, elimination of hazardous work for workers under 18 years, improving access to basic services for seasonal migrant agricultural families, strengthening responsible recruitment, grievance mechanisms, and exploring the application of living wage standards in select commodities in Turkey. 

“Areas on which the project focused included mapping labour contractors and workers moving through members’ supply chains in Turkey throughout a field season.” 

Leah Blechschmidt, Project Manager

For further information on this project contact Project Manager, Leah Bleahschmidt –