Pineapples

Countries Where Pineapples are Reportedly Produced with Forced Labor and/or Child Labor

  • Brazil (CL)

  • Côte d’Ivoire (FL)

 

Where are pineapples reportedly produced with trafficking and/or child labor?

The U.S. Department of State 2017 Trafficking in Persons report notes forced child labor in the pineapple sector in Côte d’Ivoire.[1] According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s 2016 List of Goods Produced by Forced Labor and Child Labor, pineapples are produced in Brazil using child labor.[2] The U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report ranks Brazil and CDI as Tier 2 countries.[3]

[1] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2017. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

[2] U.S. Department of Labor. 2016 List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor.

https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/TVPRA_Report2016.pdf

[3] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2017. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

What does trafficking and/or child labor look like in the production of pineapples?

Children working in the pineapple industry may apply dangerous chemicals, carry heavy loads, work long hours and use hazardous tools.[4] According to the U.S. Department of State, boys from neighboring countries of Ghana, Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo are trafficked to work on pineapple plantations in Côte d’Ivoire.[5]

Although specific cases of trafficking have not been cited in the Philippines, high rates of labor casualization – that is, workers working without a formal connection to the plantation owner – have led to exploitation of workers.[6] In the Philippines and Costa Rica, where pineapple production is dominated by large multi-national companies, contract workers are hired via “labor cooperatives.” These labor cooperatives allow plantations to avoid direct working relationships with workers, who essentially become “permanent temporary” workers with no mechanisms for grievance.[7]

In Costa Rica, many workers are undocumented migrants and are thus may be vulnerable to human trafficking. Depending on the region, between 60 and 90 percent of pineapple workers are migrants from Nicaragua, and many lack documentation.[8] These workers generally do not speak the language of the farm owners and, due to their undocumented status, they do not have access to legal avenues for lodging complaints about dangerous working conditions, excessive hours, or low pay. Even workers who do have access to labor unions are habitually fired or blacklisted by farm owners.[9] Workers in pineapple production are exposed to hazards including toxic chemicals, heavy machinery, and extreme temperatures.[10] The Labor Rights Forum has reported instances of trafficking on pineapple plantations in Costa Rica.[11]

A Honolulu newspaper reported that migrant farmworkers are vulnerable to human trafficking on American owned pineapple farms on Maui and the island of Hawaii.[12] According to human rights organization Finnwatch, trafficking has been used in pineapple production in Thailand.[13]

[4] U.S. Department of Labor. 2015 Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor. 2015. https://www.dol.gov/sites/default/files/documents/ilab/reports/child-labor/findings/2015TDA_1.pdf

[5] U.S. Department of State. Trafficking in Persons Report. 2017. https://www.state.gov/documents/organization/271339.pdf

[6] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[7] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[8] Lawrence, Felicity. “Bitter Fruit: The Truth about Supermarket Pineapple.” The Guardian. October 1, 2010. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2010/oct/02/truth-about-pineapple-production

[9] Maliq, Anahi. “The Environmental and Social Cost of Pineapples in Costa Rica.” Labor is Not a Commodity. January 4, 2011. http://laborrightsblog.typepad.com/international_labor_right/2011/01/the-environmental-and-social-cost-of-pineapples-in-costa-rica.html

[10] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[11] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

[12] Daranciang, Nelson. “Scope of Isle Farm Labor Abuse Case Widens.” Star Advertiser. January 15, 2011. http://www.staradvertiser.com/2011/01/15/hawaii-news/scope-of-isle-farm-labor-abuse-case-widens/

[13] Moilanen, Vesa. “Forced Labor Behind Pineapple Juice on Shelves in Finland.” Nordic Africa News. January 22, 2013. http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/5081-forced-labour-behind-pineapple-juice-on-shelves-in-finland

Pineapple Production and Supply Chain

The pineapple production process generally includes fertilizing and pesticide spraying in addition to the usual labor-intensive agricultural activities, such as land preparation, planting, and harvesting. A large workforce is required to cultivate the fruit. After an extensive period of planting, protecting, and watering pineapples, they are harvested and packaged to be shipped to processing plants or to be sold as fresh fruit. Pineapple producing brands often own plantations in several countries, and shipments from these countries may be shipped together, making it difficult to identify geographic origins of the fruit once it is on grocery shelves.[14]

[14] International Labor Rights Forum. “The Sour Taste of Pineapple”. October, 2008. http://laborrights.org/creating-a-sweatfree-world/resources/10745?lang=english

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. April 26, 2012. http://www.unctad.info/en/Infocomm/AACP-Products/COMMODITY-PROFILE—Pineapple/ United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

How do Trafficking and/or Child Labor in Pineapple Production Affect Me?

As a commodity, the pineapple is predominantly traded as a fresh fruit, but the Food and Agriculture Organization also includes pineapple juice concentrate in the pineapple commodities trade statistics.[15] Pineapples make up about 20 percent of the total world tropical fruit production, and they are the second most harvested fruit, after bananas. The United States has the highest demand for imported pineapple. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the primary use globally for pineapple is as a fresh fruit for desserts or as an ingredient in other dishes.[16]

[15] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

[16] United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). “Pineapple.” AAACP Products. 2016. http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/INFOCOMM_cp09_Pineapple_en.pdf

EXAMPLES

What Governments, Corporations, and Others are Doing

In early 2017, the U.S. Labor Education in the Americas Project (USLEAP) announced a collaborative project with Honduran and Costa Rican labor unions to promote the safety and wellbeing of pineapple and melon workers.[17] USLEAP is launching a campaign to demand that workers in Costa Rica and Honduras receive living wages and access to freedom of association.[18]

[17] Rosazza, Gabriela. “Global Campaign Launches in Support of Melon and Pineapple Workers in Central America.” International Labor Rights Forum. February 9, 2017. http://www.laborrights.org/blog/201702/global-campaign-launches-support-melon-and-pineapple-workers-central-america

[18] Rosazza, Gabriela. “Global Campaign Launches in Support of Melon and Pineapple Workers in Central America.” International Labor Rights Forum. February 9, 2017. http://www.laborrights.org/blog/201702/global-campaign-launches-support-melon-and-pineapple-workers-central-america

LEARN MORE

Read this Labor Rights Forum report on the growth of the pineapple industry.

Take a look at the Finnwatch report on suppliers for European groceries.

Watch a short documentary on pineapple production in the Philippines.