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Small farmers to benefit from new occupational safety and health partnership

GENEVA, Switzerland, (ILO News) – A pioneering global initiative to improve occupational safety and health (OSH) and health protection access for small farmers in agro-industries has been launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the global integrated energy company Eni.

The initiative aims to increase social protection coverage for farmers in the agribusiness sector in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire, where Eni is developing agri-feedstock projects to produce vegetable oil not in competition with the food value chain to supply the biorefineries. In this regard, ILO will carry out an assessment that will identify potential areas of improvement and recommendations to further promote occupational safety and health (OSH), along the agricultural value chain, respectively for castor farmers in Kenya and rubber farmers in Côte d’Ivoire.

Through the partnership, farm owners, farm workers and their representatives will be helped to raise awareness and improve OSH practices through training activities and the implementation of risk prevention and mitigation measures. ILO and Eni also aim to increase small farmers’ social protection coverage through a combination of awareness-raising and working with unions, cooperatives, employers, and national governments. Initially, 50,000 farmers in Kenya and 100,000 in Côte d’Ivoire will benefit from the initiative, which might be extended also to other countries in the future.

“The ILO welcomes the opportunity to partner with Eni, as a joint commitment between governments, workers, trade unions and the private sector is paramount to the realization of a safe and healthy working environment and universal health coverage,” said Laura Thompson, ILO, assistant director general for external and corporate relations.

“This new partnership with Eni will directly benefit workers operating in the agri-business sectors in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire. It is hoped that this pioneering collaboration will lead the way to systematic approaches promoting the safety and health of workers and their access to social health protection,” said Joaquim Pintado Nunes, ILO chief of the labour administration, labour inspection and occupational safety and health branch.
“We are glad to partner with ILO on these key projects in Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire, which are generating a positive impact on the entire value chain, promoting socio-economic and environmental sustainability. This important collaboration is an example of virtuous public-private partnership, with the common goal of achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals,” said Luigi Ciarrocchi, CCUS, forestry and agri-feedstock director at Eni.

“The strengthening of health and social protection across the agribusiness supply chain is crucial to ensure the protection of every worker in terms of safety and health, and the partnership with ILO is an additional way to strengthen with our commitments. Health safeguard is fundamental to a supply chain that values human rights, for the well-being of all people contributing to the industrial system,” said Filippo Uberti, secretary general of the Eni Foundation.

The initiative, which is expected to run for five years, was launched on November 24 at the signing ceremony at the International Labour Office in Geneva. It is part of the Global ILO flagship programmes Safety + Health for All , which aims to improve the safety and health of workers worldwide, and Social Protection Floors for All , which supports the implementation of social protection systems.



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