Standards and regulations news – Post date: May 15th, 2020

GLOBALG.A.P. World Consultation Tour 2020

GLOBALG.A.P. is organising the largest worldwide consultation ever undertaken for a private standard for good agricultural practices, as part of the process of revising the Integrated Farm Assurance (IFA) standard version 6. The World Consultation Tour meetings focus on different scopes and target groups; each meeting will be a 90-minute online session, free of charge, and moderated by GLOBALG.A.P. experts. Online Registration for fruit & vegetables is here – seats are limited

GLOBALG.A.P. – how is COVID-19 impacting global value chains?

GLOBALG.A.P. has published findings on how COVID-19 is impacting global value chains and how agricultural players are doing under current conditions.
Consumers have been behaving very similarly across regions. At the beginning of the quarantine measures people went to stores and bought in bulk. Then the number of online purchases jumped, even in developing countries where ordering food online was not commonplace before.

Demand for what are considered exotic fruits, such as physalis, has decreased in favour of other products, especially oranges and lemons.
Those who export their products by air cargo are struggling due to the reduced number of flights.

Producers and exporters are also struggling with container shortages and increasing costs due to sanitary measures (e.g. masks, PPE, sanitiser).
Companies are faced with rising labour costs, as well as labour shortages – many migrant workers decided to return home. Some companies have had to hire and train workers who used to work in other affected industries (restaurants, hotels, etc.), which has increased costs. Some companies now need three times the amount of buses for the same number of workers.

Social distancing measures also affect packing houses. While fixed costs (rent, electricity, overheads) remain unchanged, fewer products can be packaged due to the reduced number of workers allowed in the building.

Auditors of certification bodies are encountering great difficulties in travelling and fulfilling their duties in accordance with hygiene measures. To help alleviate these problems, the GLOBALG.A.P. Remote Auditing option is under development.

See the full report here.

Sedex guidance on those most vulnerable to COVID-19

Sedex (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange) has issued guidance on the businesses and people most vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of COVID-19.
For businesses, vulnerability to COVID-19 includes those that have low cash reserves and little access to credit – are vulnerable to bankruptcy.
For people, vulnerability to COVID-19 includes those who have little or no financial buffer, insecure employment and/or poor health.
The presence or absence of government support for businesses and state funded healthcare and social safety net is of critical importance. In countries without state support, businesses and people are extremely vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19.

The guidance lists 11 vulnerable groups of people:

  • Workers without established or regular contracts
  • Those with existing or underlying health issues
  • Those earning low wages and lacking an economic buffer
  • Those in accommodation linked to employment, living on their own, or in very crowded homes
  • Those over 60 years old
  • Women and/or those with caregiving responsibilities
  • Migrants (including domestic migrants)
  • Workers who organise or raise grievances
  • Indigenous communities
  • Groups who are subject to cultural and legal discrimination
  • Groups who live or work in densely populated areas.

It also notes that these groups can intersect, so a person may be a migrant woman on a temporary contract and reliant on employer-provided accommodation, thereby at substantially increased risk to the health and financial impacts of COVID-19.

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