Misconception Number 39: Seasonal workers in Organic Agriculture are not treated any better than in conventional agriculture.
Summary of Counter-Arguments:
Details of Counter-Arguments:
It is true that organic standards do not generally distinguish between seasonal and permanent workers, resulting in little deliberate effort made specifically on behalf of seasonal workers compared to other workers on organic farms. However, the condition of workers of all types (including seasonal workers) is often better on organic farms than on conventional farms, especially in developing countries. This is ensured through certification schemes, which refer to organic standards containing specific sections on social aspects and workers’ rights. For instance, organic farms must: comply with all ILO (International Labour Organization) conventions relating to labor welfare, should not discriminate or mistreat employees, and should not hire child labor. Moreover, the organic inspection exposes the farm to the judgment of an outsider and this control in itself provides an incentive for the farmer to provide decent working conditions to its farm workers, including seasonal workers who are usually suffering from the worst conditions. Hence, the situation for seasonal workers on organic farms is generally significantly better than that of their conventional counterparts.
In addition to social and legal considerations, workers on organic farms benefit from safer and more pleasant working conditions (e.g., by not being exposed to pesticides and enjoying more diversified activities). In the conventional farming sector, three million farm workers worldwide suffer from pesticide poisoning every year.
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