Awareness could help prevent problems in rural areas

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Correct handling and application of pesticides, wearing protective clothing during harvesting and refraining from using child labor were on the agenda of the event that attracted rural producers, authorities and the regional press in six municipalities in the South.

September 2016 – The 8th Awareness Cycle on producers health and safety, and child and adolescent protection brought to a close the activities in South Brazil, attended by nearly 2.6 thousand people. Conducted by the Interstate Tobacco Industry Union (SindiTabaco), relying on support from the associated companies and the Tobacco Growers’ Association of Brazil (Afubra), the activities of the Awareness Cycle on the above themes started in 2009. Since then, the eight editions have already visited 51 municipalities in South Brazil and attracted the considerable number of 20.6 thousand attendees, most of them rural producers.

The six events held this year in Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná, also counted on the participation of school headmasters, healthcare agents, child protector counselors, municipal authorities and the press, as well as field staffs from the companies associated with SindiTabaco. The program included an informative video that addresses questions like the correct application, handling and storing of pesticides. The farmers are also given directives on the need to wear protective tobacco harvesting clothing and Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs), as well as keep an eye on the legislation in force, which prohibits under 18 year olds, would-be mothers and people over 60 to apply pesticides. Furthermore, a lecture on child labor and a theater play are part of the program of the seminars, where the latter is a playful moment, followed by a revision of the main messages.
The president of the SindiTabaco, Iro Schünke, has it that awareness could generate great changes at field level. A survey of the tobacco growers ascertained that upwards of 80% of them felt that they had improved their knowledge on child and adolescent protection, and farmer health and safety. “Knowing that we are taking information to rural areas is very important, but what makes us even happier is learning that 82% of the farmers are convinced that the knowledge they acquired could trigger a change in attitude. And for making a difference this is enough, small changes like wearing PPE correctly and encouraging children’s education”, says Schünke.

• 450 people in Içara (SC)
• 450 people in Boqueirão do Leão (RS)
• 400 people in Jaguari (RS)
• 400 people in Ipiranga (PR)
• 450 people in Mafra (SC)
• 400 people in Quitandinha (PR)
TOTAL: 2,550 participants

Learn about the main guidelines passed on to the farmers during the events. The farmers are advised to:
• Only use registered pesticides, in compliance with the agronomic prescription;
• Keep the spray can in operational conditions, without any leaks;
• During pesticide handling and application, always wear PPE;
• Prevent under 18 year olds, elderly people and would-be mothers from applying pesticides;
• Store the pesticides in closets made of resistant material, locked and destined for this use only, with access restricted to workers skilled in handling them;
• Never reutilize empty pesticide containers for any purpose;
• Triple rinse the empty pesticide container, wearing PPE;
• Place signs at areas recently-treated with pesticides, with specific warning for this purpose;
• Always wear impermeable gloves and specific protective tobacco harvesting clothing;
• Avoid reaping tobacco when the leaves are wet from rain or morning dew;
• Give preference to hours when the temperature is mild for reaping tobacco;
• Besides the right time for reaping tobacco, the farmers should carefully consider the topping process, loading and curing/leaf drying.

The tobacco sector pioneered the fight against child labor in rural settings. For more than 15 years, the sector has been raising farmers’ awareness of the need to comply with legislation, seeing that under 18 year olds are not allowed to work on tobacco fields. The sector is also the only one that requires the school enrolment certificate of farmers’ children and the certificate of school attendance for the renewal of the commercial contract between the companies and the growers, within the Integrated Tobacco Production System. In response to the recommendations by the ILO, Brazil regulated, through decree 6481/2008 , two international conventions, including tobacco on the list of activities forbidden for under 18 year olds. Lawer, retired Labor Prosecutor from the State Labor Department in Santo Ângelo (MPT/PRT 4th District), Dr. Veloir Dirceu Fürst talked with the producers about the theme during the events. According to him, child labor becomes evident when children and adolescents replace adults in tasks that need to be done. “There is need to distinguish child labor from family life. If the children follow their parents and occasionally help them with minor tasks, it is not considered to be child labor. Many parents argue that the children need to learn. If the parents teach them how to perform certain activities, it is not child labor; but if the children and adolescents keep engaged in the work all the time, and are deprived from their educational rights and leisure moments, it is a case of child labor exploitation “, he clarified.

KNOW MORE – The seminars comply with the agreement terms signed with the MPT-RS and MPT-Brasília in 2008 and 2011, respectively, which also set forth the requirement of the school enrolment certificate of the farmers’ children when it comes to signing the commercial contract of the crop between growers and companies, and equally the school attendance certificate at the end of every school year. In case child labor is detected, the companies are under obligation to inform the competent authorities. In case of a relapse, the company will not renew the contract for the next growing season.

Contact with the press

Camila Holgado – – (11) 3169-9322 / (11) 96477-2701
Eliana Stülp Kroth – – (51) 3713-1777 / (51) 9708-5539
Mônica Almeida – – (11) 3169-9318

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