For the assessment year 2016-2017, the FLA conducted unannounced independent external monitoring (IEM) visits to assess working conditions at Syngenta’s corn supply chain in Thailand between the months of October 2016 and May 2017. The assessments covered around 30 acres of corn farms located in Kanchanaburi, Lampang, and Tak provinces.
The team of external assessors visited 37 corn seed producing farms engaged in high labor-intensive activities of detasseling and harvesting, and interviewed a total of 269 workers. The farms located in Kanchanaburi and Lampang primarily consisted of family labor and seasonal local workers hired during detasseling. During the harvesting period, neighbors help each other with the work, and farmers hire fewer laborers. In Tak province, many workers engaged in the farms are migrant workers from Myanmar, with most engaged as seasonal workers. A small portion are hired as permanent workers who stay in the area for longer duration in houses provided by their respective employers. Syngenta is not directly responsible for the recruitment of these workers, nor are the local subcontractors called ‘seed organizers.’ The recruitment takes place via the local farmers who own the land who do not have a direct contractual relationship with Syngenta.
This report below summarizes the FLA’s findings for its 2016-17 assessments and Syngenta’s response to those findings. It also summarizes the progress and remaining gaps in remediation of issues found during previous assessments in 2015. The FLA team has observed progress on code awareness by farmers, prohibition of child labor, implementation of health and safety procedures, and assessment of local wages. The team observed a need for continued improvement in strengthening policies, procedures, and field trainings on non-discrimination, health and safety, and freedom of association among the workers, and in increasing stakeholder engagement on issues concerning compensation and working hours.