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Govt Issues Stringent Guidelines for Flower Farms to Curb Occupational Hazards

Government has set up a technical committee mandated to carryout regular inspections on all flower farms in Uganda to ensure that occupational health and safety is safeguarded.

The intervention follows a series of complaints lodged by over 80 women workers of Royal Van Zenten a Kyengera based flower farm who claim they were sexually harassed, exposed to dangerous agro chemicals without protective gear and exploited with less pay.

Following a petition the Uganda Flower Exporters Association regarding the same issue, the Minister of Trade Amelia Kyambadde held a meeting with stakeholders in the flower sub sector, and labor union representatives to find solutions to the complaints.

At a news conference on Thursday, Hon. Kyambadde said; “We discussed issues raised by the workers; harassment, emoluments and exposure to chemicals and agreed to set up a technical committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Trade.”

“The committee will inspect all the flower farms on a quarterly basis and the inspection will cover occupation safety, chemical use how it is managed,” Kyambadde added.

Henceforth, all flower firms will be required to have an Occupation Health and Safety Policy as well as train all workers on chemical use and management.

Workers will also be periodically tested for chemical contamination levels in their blood samples as a way of keep check of any work related health risks.

Kyambadde assured Ugandans that government will continue to monitor progress in the horticulture sector and to ensure that best practices and standards are followed.

According to statistics from the Uganda Flower Exporters Association, Uganda exported an estimated 6,000 tonnes of flowers in 2014, earning revenue to a tune of USD 38.7 million.

The flowering sub sector directly employs over 8,500 people in Uganda majority of them women. Currently, there are 19 flower farms operating in Uganda.

This post was syndicated from ChimpReports. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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