Project Cultivar: Final Report on Impact Released
In the challenging agricultural sector, Project Cultivar establishes a system for continuous improvement on the farm
The results are in on SAI's Project Cultivar in Central America. In August 2011, SAI issued Project Cultivar's final report, chronicling its work to advance labor rights in the agricultural sector, in partnership with CIAC, INCAP, PASE and CDH, and supported by the U.S. Department of Labor.
Project Cultivar worked with 38 farms and factories in the Dominican Republic, Honduras and Nicaragua and delivered training to over 4,000 workers, managers, and labor inspectors. This capacity building provided the infrastructure for ongoing multi-stakeholder dialogue in four principle ways: by increasing awareness of national labor laws, empowering workers to invoke their rights, increasing managers' capacity to comply with national labor law, and equipping government inspectors with tools to enforce regulations.
In all three countries, project activities improved workplace and tripartite dialogue on labor rights, beginning with the topic of health and safety. Cultivar contributed to the reduction of complaints requiring outside support for resolution, and to a decrease in both accidents and staff turnover (an indirect measure of worker satisfaction and a managerial cost-saving).
To sustain these improvements and address challenging issues beyond the capacity of a single employer to resolve, Cultivar convened 32 Multi-Stakeholder Dialogue Roundtable meetings that facilitated tripartite dialogue on labor rights. Results from these meetings included: 1) Increased protection for migrant workers in the Dominican Republic; 2) Implementation of cholera prevention program during a 2010 outbreak in the Dominican Republic; 3) Re-activation of a tri-partite Occupational Safety and Health Council in Nicaragua; and 4) A university degree program on labor rights and social dialogue in Honduras.
Project Cultivar focused specifically on the agricultural sector. In Central America, agriculture represents a key sector of the economy, and large employer. However, there are major intrinsic challenges; it is tough work. Workers are exposed to the hot sun and hazardous agrochemicals. Farms typically operate in rural areas where enforcement of labor laws is weak. Furthermore, tensions between employer and worker communities have historically complicated labor relations; progress in this sector is hard won and will be sustained by ongoing work with and by the national partners.
For more information, contact SAI Development Manager, Eliza Wright at EWright@sa-intl.org.