According to the Kenya Plantations and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU), 85pc of the workforce in flower and vegetable farms are being recalled back to duty after being laid off in the thousands at the beginning of the pandemic.
The union says the remaining workforce is on unpaid leave with hopes they will be called in the coming weeks when things stabilize while also denying claims that some workers in the sector had permanently lost jobs due to the pandemic.
“Currently 85pc of our workforce are back in the farms as the majority had been sent home on normal leave or unpaid leave at the height of the pandemic,” KPAWU secretary-general in Naivasha Ferdinand Juma said. “COTU Secretary-General Francis Atwoli, who is also the Secretary-General of KPAWU entered into an MOU with the farmers that no one would be sent home.”
Horticulture was the most affected industry by the Coronavirus pandemic with flower firms having to shed over 30,000 casual workers and send over 40,000 permanent staff on compulsory leave as the industry battled to survive the aftershocks of measures taken to curb the spread of the virus.
According to a new report, Kenya’s horticulture industry is estimated to be losing at least Sh106 Million per day as a direct impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
An analysis by Scope Markets Kenya shows that while some demand for horticulture exports has returned and losses have reduced, the outlook remains bleak throughout the coming months.
“Shipments of flowers, vegetables, herbs and fruits to the European Union, which accounts for more than 80pc of horticulture exports from Kenya, all but ceased in March this year following the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic,” the report says.
Kenyan farms have drastically reduced export volumes to 50pc, with a sizeable number suspending exports altogether.
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