Brazil has been a signatory of the United Nations Convention on Children’s Rights since 1990.
The next events will be held in Rio Azul and Rio Negro, in Paraná. About 6,000 farmers have already attended seminars on issues related to farming.
August 2011 - Tobacco farmers from two different regions of the State of Santa Catarina met this week to discuss important issues related to farming. More than 800 people attended the 3rd Awareness Cycle on farmers’ occupational health and safety and children and adolescent protection, sponsored by SindiTabaco (Interstate Tobacco Industry Union), associated companies and Afubra (Brazilian Tobacco Growers’ Association). Maravilha, in the Western region, and Santa Terezinha, in Alto Vale, held the Cycle’s first edition in Santa Catarina.
In addition to tobacco growers, health agents, tutorship council agents, trade unions, school principals, authorities, agricultural advisors from associated companies and the press attended the events. In Rio Grande do Sul, the cycles have been held for three years and the results have been very good: 12 cities from the State have been visited, and 5,000 people have attended. In 2011, the event was extended as part of the agreement established before the Labor Prosecution Office of Brasília.
The provisions of the agreement are in accordance with a policy adopted by the sector which is geared towards the education of children and adolescents, children of rural producers, and better quality of life for tobacco farmers. Furthermore, the international market now requires that sustainable products be in accordance with issues related to social responsibility and environmental preservation”, said Iro Schünke, SindiTabaco’s president, during the opening.
In the understanding of Mario Ilo Grützmacher, Afubra’s vice-president, farmers need to acknowledge the cultivation of tobacco as a business, a small enterprise that is in compliance with the laws and practices safe labor actions. “The laws have changed and small farmers need to adapt to this new reality”, stated the vice-president. The cities where the events were held acknowledge the cultivation of tobacco as an important source of income. In Santa Terezinha, for instance, there are 1,762 tobacco farmers and, according to the mayor, Genir Juncks, more than 90% of the city’s budget comes from that activity.
FARMERS’ OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY
Tips on occupational health and safety in the several stages of tobacco production, such as at the time of applying toxic products and the importance of wearing the appropriate clothes during harvesting, were addressed in a video specially produced for the Cycle. The proper application, handling and storage of toxic products are stated in the agreement. The correct use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and compliance with the existing laws on the matter are among the items agreed on by the parties. Individuals under the age of 18, pregnant women and people over the age of 60 should be prohibited from applying toxic products.
DID YOU KNOW?
Buying adulterated toxic products is prohibited by the law.
Poisoning potential through the skin is 50 times higher than through the respiratory route.
PPE must be washed under running water and with neutral soap for decontamination, and it must be kept apart from your regular clothes. It should not soak, since the inside may be contaminated, and farmers must use gloves and an apron when washing it.
Latex gloves are not an efficient means of protection during the application of toxic products. Neoprene or nitrile gloves are appropriate since they are more resistant.
The amount of toxic products used to plant a hectare of tomatoes is the same used to plant 47 hectares of tobacco (UFPEL, 2007).
According to law, any establishment that sells toxic products must collect the packages. Companies associated to SindiTabaco collect packages through a pioneering itinerant program that consists of 2,300 collection points.
CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PROTECTION
The event continued with a lecture on the rights of children and adolescents delivered by Professor Dr. Ana Paula Motta Costa, who has vast experience in the area. According to the Federal Constitution of Brazil, individuals under the age of 16 are prohibited from working, except as apprentices. However, adolescent labor is prohibited from 16 to 18 years of age in the conditions listed in decree No. 6,481 dated Jun 12, 2008, as the worst forms of labor.
Tobacco production and processing as well as the spraying, handling and application of toxic products are included in that list. In this sense, the agreement established that tobacco farmers must present proof of school enrollment for their children at the time of signing contracts between farmers and companies, along with a certificate of attendance at the end of each academic term. Where a discrepancy concerning child labor is found, companies must report it to the competent authorities. In case of a repeat offence, the company will not have its contract renewed for the next harvest.
The humorous drama play Rádio Fascinação, by group Espaço Camarim, from Santa Cruz do Sul (RS), was the seminar’s closing event, as artists interacted with the audience so as to recapitulate on the most important topics addressed in the meeting, which is going on to Paraná, in the cities of Rio Azul (August 30) and Rio Negro (Sep 01). Check out the full schedule.
The 3rd Awareness Cycle is part of the Crescer Legal (Growing Up Right) program, a joint initiative between SindiTabaco, associated companies and Afubra, aimed at preventing and fighting child and adolescent labor in the cultivation of tobacco, through raising awareness among integrated farmers and society, as well as social projects on education and leisure.
Andreoli MSL Brasil
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