From November 2015 to February 2016, during periods of peak seed production activity, the FLA conducted unannounced independent external monitoring (IEM) visits to assess working conditions at Syngenta‘s seed supplier farms in Argentina and Brazil. Two assessments took place in Argentina (in the province of Buenos Aires) and three in Brazil (in the provinces of Goais, Minas Gerais and Sao Paulo) where Syngenta is sourcing corn and sunflower seeds. Assessor teams visited two corn and sunflower farms in Argentina and seven corn farms in Brazil. They interviewed 194 workers who were involved in detasseling, harvesting and roughing activities
In Argentina and Brazil, farmers own large tracts of land and grow seeds for Syngenta on small parcels of it. Since 2013, in those two countries, Syngenta has directly hired the seasonal workers involved in the peak activities of their seed production. In most cases, Syngenta is directly responsible for the recruitment of the workers, their transportation, their accommodation, and for supervising their work and paying their salary. This is the case for all three assessments conducted in Brazil and in one visited farm in Argentina. At the other farm in Argentina (in Villalonga), the farmer is responsible for hiring and managing the workforce. In addition to workers directly hired by Syngenta, farm managers (farmers) also hire their own workforce to cover other production activities during off-peak time, for example, for land preparation, irrigation, fertilizer application, and other activities. The FLA expects labor standards to be communicated and applied to the complete workforce across the entire farm level, and not only to the workforce directly hired by Syngenta.
The reports below summarize the FLA’s findings from its 2015 assessments, the compay’s responses to those findings, and the progress and remaining gaps identified in the 2015 round of assessments in comparison with the 2014 findings for the same two countries.