Human Suffering in Italy’s Agricultural Value Chain

Publication date

21 Jun 2018


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Poverty is widespread among the small-scale farmers and workers who produce and process our food, in an industry worth billions of dollars. Oxfam’s new campaign highlights the systemic inequality and human suffering in food supply chains – and shows how action by supermarkets, governments, small-scale farmers and workers could lead to a decent and dignified standard of living for millions of people.

This case study reveals endemic economic exploitation of farm workers in Italy who supply fruit and vegetables to supermarkets across Europe. It highlights the particular vulnerability of women and migrant workers, many of whom are recruited by gangmasters and forced to live and work in inhumane conditions. Wages are deducted in return for transport, food and accommodation. Workers express fear of sexual harassment, violence and exploitation.

It is one of a series of case studies to supplement the global campaign report, Ripe for Change, drawing attention to the plight of specific groups of small-scale farmers or workers in international food value chains and/or promoting successful alternative approaches.