In 2009, Oxfam identified several flaws in the berry sector, especially with regards to the working conditions and the non-respect of women workers' rights; no contracts, low rates of registration to social security, child labour, verbal violence and harassment, non-compliance with minimum wage and legal working hours, lack of identity documents for workers, very difficult transport conditions and non-compliance with health and safety standards in the workplace.
Oxfam and its partners have designed a programme to improve working conditions and increase respect for the rights of women workers in the berry sector in Morocco. At the national level, synergies have been developed between Moroccan civil society associations, state institutions, experts, berry producers in Morocco as well as women workers themselves. At the international level, Oxfam works with European importers and retailers of Moroccan berries.
The international strategy started in the UK in 2011 as a collaborative effort between supermarkets and berry importers, the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), and Oxfam, who together created the “Better Strawberries Group” (BSG). An ambitious action plan was developed and for its implementation each buyer worked closely with his Moroccan suppliers. Nowadays, the international strategy is also implemented with Spanish enterprises and French enterprises buying berries in Morocco.
Direct dialogue with the buyers and suppliers of Moroccan berries in Morocco has emerged as an effective way to allow for sustainable changes, while being attentive to the challenges of each actor taking part in the dialogue (workers, local associations, producers, importers and retailers). Progress in several sections of the action plan is clearly a direct result of management and monitoring of the action plan done by these key UK buyers. These improvements are tangible, but are not happening in all companies and even less in those supplying the frozen strawberries market, as the UK market buys mainly fresh strawberries. Following the success of the international strategy and the outreach with British buyers, strawberry buying-companies in France, Spain and Sweden are being targeted to follow a similar approach. Key actions are being developed with companies in these countries aimed at harmonising the expectations of all importers of the Moroccan market.
Concrete achievements include the following:National identity card
Morocco - Gharb and Larache regions
Oxfam Intermon, Oxfam GB, Oxfam France, Oxfam Italy and Oxfam Germany
Research Théroux-Séguin, J. (2016), 'From Empowerment to Transformative Leadership: Intersectional Analysis of Women Workers in the Strawberry Sector of Morocco' in Women in Agriculture Worldwide Key issues and practical approaches.