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Farm Radio Weekly is a news and information service for rural radio broadcasters in sub-Saharan Africa. It is published by Farm Radio International.

Farm Radio Weekly

Notes to broadcasters on farm workers rights:

As this story reveals, farm workers are among the most vulnerable people in many African countries. Living arrangements that are tied to employment contribute to this vulnerability, as do low income and low rates of formal education. Under these circumstances, farm workers have few options available to them. However, farm workers are finding ways to stand up for their rights. This July, for example, the Farm Workers Summit in Northern Cape, South Africa, brought together local farm workers so they could arrive at a consensus about their employment concerns and propose possible solutions. This story also cites examples of employers and the government taking action to improve the quality of life of farm workers.

The following links lead to further discussion of some issues raised in the story:
-“Nearly one million farmer workers evicted since 1993,” a story from the World Socialist Website published in 2005: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2005/oct2005/afri-o24.shtml
-Excerpt from “Ethics in agriculture: An African perspective,” an academic description of the circumstances that make farm workers vulnerable:
http://books.google.ca/books?id=ew8b8SUwuwYC&pg=PA37&lpg=PA37&dq=africa+farm+workers+rights&source=web&ots=dOB-WewxAW&sig=iFpfxciZqsde2PPxntMUhPl9PPE&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=3&ct=result
-“Sisal farm workers refuse to surrender spartan life,” a recent news story by The Nation about the struggle of farm workers to obtain regular pay: http://allafrica.com/stories/200804151277.html
-Farm Radio International script: “The grim fate of farm labourers in the Western Cape, South Africa” (Package 81, Script 5, August 2007): http://farmradio.org/english/radio-scripts/81-5script_en.asp

Broadcasters can play an important role in giving a voice to vulnerable people and exposing human rights abuses. If there are large commercial farms that employ farm workers (especially workers who live on the farm) in your area, you may consider conducting an investigative report to discover whether their living conditions and employment conditions are acceptable to the workers and meet the standards set by the laws of your country. A farm workers’ association may be a good place to start. A human rights NGO may also be able to alert you to reported or suspected problems. Radio programs about farm workers obtaining better living and working conditions also have great value. They can validate the efforts of employers endeavouring to improve labour conditions and give farm workers knowledge of what can be accomplished.

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