Impact of COVID-19 on women workers in the horticulture sector in Kenya

Focusing on impact of COVID-19 on women workers in horticulture sector, living conditions and shifts in their household expenses.

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Summary of findings

The impact of Covid-19 pandemic has impacted women workers in the horticulture sector socially, economically and psychologically, with the effect spiralling to their homes. The major effects are

  • Massive layoffs of temporary and seasonal workers
  • Women workers entirely rely on their meagre earnings from the farms thus the disruptions on their jobs have sabotaged their livelihoods and well-being.
  • Intensified unpaid care work for women workers who have lost their jobs. This is further compounded by homeschooling obligations following the closure of schools and higher learning institutions.

Summary of Recommendations

The study recommended the following policy, legal and advocacy actions as approaches to respond to the current situation in the horticulture sector.

Government

  • Transparency and accountability on the utilization of the monies freed through salary cuts effected on civil servants salaries
  • Roll-out of mass testing in flower companies, provision of free quarantine services where necessary, treatment and psychosocial support
  • Expansion of the government's cash transfer programme and other safety nets to workers in precarious employment such as the horticulture sector

Civil Society Organization

  • Foster dialogue with sector players for harmonized, inclusive and comprehensive responses and interventions that foster public participation.
  • Establish a fund basket for food packages, cash transfers and/or other basic essentials for supporting strained workers especially those who have lost their jobs
  • Roll-out sensitization of workers on Covid-19 to bridge the information deficits created by a single government narrative.
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