Amidst the rising fears of our farmers, workers and producers on the rapid spread of the coronavirus resulting in close down of agricultural operations, a decline of production and loss of sales, most of the Producers in Asia and Pacific Region are currently taking steps to educate its farmers and workers to create awareness and prevent the spread of COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”) into their communities.
While the small producer organizations for tea in China are battling against the shortage of migrant laborers for tea plucking during this spring harvest season, the plantations in Assam and Darjeeling are aggressively taking steps to educate its workers through its awareness programs. Tea Cultivation in the region has just begun for the year and closure of the Tea Gardens at this moment would raise another bigger epidemic in the Tea Estates, that is – HUNGER.
Since the vast majority of farming must be done in person it was the need of the hour that such awareness programs be carried out. The activity has been playing an important role in disseminating information about the disease, its transmission, associated health hazards and precautionary measures to be undertaken immediately to avoid its potential transmission to the farmers, workers and the community.
Jamguri Tea Estate. Flo ID: 2896 and Chedaideo Purbat Tea Estate. Flo ID: 36593 in Assam, India
The awareness program was initiated by the management of the gardens on 17th March with active participation from the majority of the workers. Leaflets carrying information on the disease prevention measures were printed in the local language and distributed to the workers. Much stress was laid on the regular maintenance of health and hygiene. The workers opined that they were unaware of the virus and such awareness program really helped in understanding and saving oneself from such an outbreak.
The program was conducted both in the field and in the garden dispensary by the health practitioners. WASH was an important component during the awareness program underlying the importance of handwashing and sanitation to prevent the infection.
Ali Trading Company (Pvt) Ltd.- Sports Ball Producer FLO ID 20646 in Pakistan
The women leaders of NAPP Gender Leadership School at the organization have undeniably stood strong as fierce role models by taking the initiative to conduct a 2-day workshop for its workers and staff. Selected members from each department were oriented on the basic information of the disease, its associated symptoms and myths, and preventive measures to be adopted not only at their workplace but also at their homes and communities.
‘’In the wake of the imminent spread of the Novel COVID-19 virus epidemic and following government advisory, we felt the responsibility towards the country and the workers as well. All possible precautions are being made to minimize the threat of this pandemic. We have made provisions of protective masks to all our workers. The masks are locally produced and disposable and we provide them on daily basis. We have displayed awareness posters in different areas of the factory, imparted precautionary training to our workers and staff. Hand sanitizers and liquid soaps are kept in sufficient quantities in washrooms. In case of any symptoms, they are briefed to go on fully paid leaves and to report to work only after they have fully recovered’’- Gayur Abbas, Fairtrade Officer- Ali Trading Company (Pvt) Ltd.
Even though no cases of Corona Virus have been reported, but utmost preventive measures are already being taken against the spreading of the virus.