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November 04, 2012

Film maker shocked by Cameroon banana plantation work conditions

A British film maker is shocked and disturbed to find pregnant women among Cameroonian workers exposed to toxic chemicals in the handling of bananas for export to the UK.

Jan Nimmo said, “The women were unfolding blue bags which are used to protect bananas from pests. The bags are coated with a chemical called chlorpyrifos which can cause numbness, weight loss, birth defects, loss of libido, respiratory problems and suicidal thoughts. The most pressing issue is a lack of stewardship of the agrochemicals they use and a lack of understanding of what they can do to people exposed to them.”

The workers are said to be paid £2.25 (US$3.60) per day for work shifts as long as 12 hours, which helps European consumers to enjoy low-priced bananas.

Among other plantation work conditions that shocked the film-maker were toilets with no water and no clean drinking water.

The government-linked Cameroon Development Corporation runs several banana plantations, whose produce is sold to companies like fruit multinational Del Monte for distribution to Europe, North America and elsewhere.

full article...Daily Record

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