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Migrant workers in the banana industry











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    Trabajadores migrantes en la industria bananera 2017
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    The United Nations International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (1990) defines a migrant worker as “a person who is engaged or has been engaged in a remunerated activity in a state of which he or she is not a national”. This definition includes temporary migrant workers (e.g. seasonal workers in agriculture) and those coming from a different part of the same country. According to recent ILO estimates, there are 150.3 million migran t workers in the world, of which 48 percent are women. However, in the banana industry migrant workers are predominantly male. This is due to their relative ability to travel according to family responsibilities, and also because of gender discrimination in employment opportunities for women in the industry.
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    Migrant workers and remittances in the context of COVID-19 in sub-Saharan Africa 2020
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    African migrants stimulate economic growth and development in areas of destination, transit and origin through their labour, skills transfer, consumption and investments. Their remittances also make significant contributions to food security, human capital, rural development and overall Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in areas of origin. The impact of COVID-19 affects migrant workers disproportionally. Often precarious working conditions and overcrowded living and transport arrangements increase their vulnerability to contagion and loss of employment, threatening their health and livelihoods. Those working under informal arrangements, commonly in the agriculture sector, are largely excluded from accessing real-time reliable information, social protection, healthcare and government response measures. Urban-to-rural return migration increases due to lockdowns and job losses in cities. This context poses challenges and opportunities in rural sectors, while many return migrants face stigmatization as potential carriers of the virus. A 23 percent decline in remittances flow into sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), as a result of economic downturns, restrictions in movement and challenges sending transfers to SSA, is expected to heavily impact the livelihoods of households and countries that rely on them for food and other basic expenditures, such as health and education.
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    Migrant workers and the COVID-19 pandemic 2020
    The policy brief reviews the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on migrants working in agri-food systems and their families in rural areas of origin. It points out some of the policy implications and presents key policy recommendations. Measures affecting the movement of people (internally and internationally) and resulting labour shortages, will have an impact on agricultural value chains, affecting food availability and market prices globally. At the same time, large shares of migrants work under informal or casual arrangements, which leave them unprotected, vulnerable to exploitation, poverty and food insecurity, and often without access to healthcare, social protection and the measures being put in place by governments.

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