PANAO emergency aid: Projects in response to COVID-19

PANAO launched a competition of ideas among all stakeholders in March 2021. The aim of the competition was to identify and promote projects that support workers on orange plantations in coping with the effects of the pandemic. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) provided funding for the project.


Diversification of orange cultivation through fish farming

Focusing solely on orange production carries risks because of its seasonal nature and dependence on a single product. In 2020, the COOPERSANTA cooperative was directly affected by Covid-19. As a result, members’ production decreased by over 90% compared to the previous year.

For this reason, the COOPERSANTA cooperative is working on ways to promote diversification among its members. International experience shows that fish farming can be excellently integrated into irrigated fruit production and promotes economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

Therefore, training, workshops, exchanges, and technical visits have been funded – as well as assistance with legal procedures needed to introduce fish farming as a new activity. In addition, studies were conducted to support cooperative producers in implementation planning. Topics such as requirements for environmental licenses, investigation of financing sources were addressed and market and economic feasibility studies on the combination of orange cultivation and fish farming were conducted. The project will run until April 2022.


Health education via app

In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, it has become more difficult for trade unions to monitor the living and working conditions of workers in the orange juice chain. Therefore, the aim of the project “Recording and raising awareness of the Covid-19 situation among workers in the orange production chain” is to identify situations in two Brazilian states where workers’ health and lives are at risk in times of a pandemic, to promote effective protective measures. Trade unions should be able to use a faster communication channel to exchange views on working conditions and health protection.

As part of the project, Rede Suco/Campo Sindical are promoting a mechanism that will allow workers to report problems in the workplace – particularly in relation to prevention measures against Covid-19 – to facilitate dialogue with companies on effective prevention measures. The mechanism also includes the development and dissemination of information material on prevention protocols to be applied in the workplace. The project is expected to be finalised in June 2022.


Study on the impact of the pandemic in the orange sector

The Covid 19 pandemic and the related measures of social distancing, restrictions or even shutdown of work activities have an impact on the productive sector. The impact on companies, workers and family farms is unknown.

To better understand the impact on workers in the orange juice chain and to be able to formulate effective countermeasures, a corresponding study is to be carried out in six Brazilian states. Its core themes are unemployment, income loss and impoverishment, whether during this pandemic or because of other infectious and contagious diseases. This information will provide trade unions, businesses, and civil society organizations with the necessary information to broaden the dialogue between the different actors, including government agencies, on appropriate responses. In this way, the impact of pandemics such as Covid-19 will be minimized, mitigated and prevented.

The project was proposed by IMAFLORA (Institute of Forestry and Agricultural Management and Certification), CONTAR (National Confederation of Agricultural Workers and Employees) and CONTAG (National Confederation of Agricultural Workers and Family Farmers) and is currently in its initial phase, to be completed by November 2022.