Improving Occupational Safety and Health and Access to Social Protection for Workers in the Agri-Business Sectors

The project funded by Eni supports the improvement of occupational safety and health and access to social protection, in particular in the area of health, for workers in the agri-business supply chain of Kenya and Côte d'Ivoire.

An estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide work in the agriculture sector around the world. Most work on family operated farms. In this sector, workplace risks often result from the inadequate use of hazardous machinery, exposure to dust, ergonomic hazards, and hazards associated with confined spaces, noise and vibration. Farm workers suffer the most from climate change and related heat stress. Pesticide poisoning, often attributable to low awareness of risks and/or a lack of appropriate prevention measures including personal protective equipment, is common.

Over the past decades, many countries have expanded social health protection coverage. However, gaps in coverage disproportionately affect those whose incomes depend on agriculture and in some countries workers and their families are not included in the legal provisions of any social health protection mechanisms. Women in rural areas often carry the triple burden of household and family care, subsistence agriculture and additional cash-generating activities.

These challenges are prevalent in Kenya and Cote D’Ivoire where Eni is developing projects to produce vegetable oil for biorefining from agri-feedstocks, such as castor and rubber seeds, that are not used in the food chain. It is in this context that the ILO and ENI decided to join forces to support the improvement of occupational safety and health (OSH) and access to social protection, in particular in the area of health, for workers in the agri-business supply chain of selected countries.

The project will work with Government, employers’ and workers’ organizations to develop and implement strategies to improve OSH and access to social health protection for workers in the agri-business sectors; empower employers, workers and their representatives in the agri-business sectors to improve OSH practices and enhance social protection coverage of workers in the agri-business, in particular in the area of social health protection.

It is estimated that 50,000 farmers in Kenya and 100,000 in Côte d'Ivoire will benefit from the initiative 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.