The low wages behind Moroccan tomatoes sold in European supermarkets

Morocco is the leading non-European supplier of tomatoes to the European Union (EU). However, the majority of workers in the Moroccan tomato sector earn a pitifully low wage that is not even sufficient to cover their most basic needs. Without significant improvements to their income, these workers will continue to live under dreadful conditions on poverty-inducing wages. They will not have access to the resources they need to find better work, nor will they be able to provide a better future for their children.

Background

Tomatoes account for almost half of Morocco’s vegetable exports and around 90% of their exported tomatoes are sent to the EU. The vast majority are grown in the Souss Massa Drâa region, where poverty is high and the majority of workers are migrant women from other parts of the country.

Fairfood International has conducted extensive research into working conditions in this region and has identified insufficient income as one of the most serious issues in the tomato sector. The official minimum wage for agricultural workers is below the government-established poverty threshold and is nowhere near enough for workers to cover their basic needs.

Workers on tomato farms and in packing stations in Morocco are very vulnerable and there are many obstructions preventing them from improving their situation on their own. They desperately need support from the food industry in order to combat the poverty they face. Retailers are very powerful stakeholders in the supply chain and can play an important role in helping tomato workers earn a decent income.

Click here to read or download the complete Fairfood International report. (PDF)

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