added 11 research items
Corporate power and the agro-food system
This article is based on research conducted in early 2012 in the Cape Winelands municipality in South Africa. It considers the gendered dynamics of employment in two wine export value chains. In one of the chains, produce is packaged and branded in South Africa for export and in the other, bulk wine is sold for packaging and branding in Europe. The research draws on a survey of workers and in-depth interviews with managers, industry and farm worker support organisations. It considers the possible impact of the adoption of a Code of Conduct on labour standards by the Swedish alcohol retail monopoly, Systembolaget. The research reinforces findings over more than a decade that female workers are concentrated in lower paid, more fragmented and insecure employment. The findings reveal that processors are more or less compliant with national labour standards, but supplier farms are less so, especially in bulk chains. Monitoring at the individual farm level is missing. This makes it difficult to track compliance of codes down to farm level. The study queries the sustainability of initiatives to improve labour standards on farms, should costs be borne entirely by producers who are already facing a cost-price squeeze.