AgroJusto: Project to Improve Adherence to International Labor Standards in the Agricultural Sector in Ecuador

Project Duration
December 2023
December 2028
Funding and Year

The AgroJusto Project, implemented by Partners of the Americas, aims to improve compliance with international labor standards in the cut flower sector in Cotopaxi and the banana sector in El Oro. The project will use an area-based approach, reinforcing local ownership and building the capacity of local private, community, and government stakeholders. It will empower worker organizations, producer associations community and indigenous groups, and local entities to address labor violations.

The Problem

As noted in the Department of Labor’s Findings on the Worst Forms of Child Labor almost 90 percent of all child labor in Ecuador is in the agriculture sector. Children are engaged in hazardous child labor in the production of bananas and flowers, including the use of chemical products and machetes. Children are also found in forced labor in small-scale banana plantations and cut flowers. Agricultural workers in Ecuador often lack knowledge about their labor rights and face obstacles to accessing remediation when their rights are violated. Gaps remain in efforts to reach populations most vulnerable to hazardous child labor, in particular indigenous, migrant, and Afro-descendant populations.

Our Strategy

To increase government capacity to enforce labor laws, Partners of the Americas (POA) will assess labor law enforcement institutions, processes, and services, then strengthen intersectoral coordination by re-invigorating referral mechanisms and strengthening the Rights Protection Councils and Boards (Consejos and Juntas de Protección de Derechos). Guided by the capacity-building strategies of the Rights Protection Councils and Boards, POA and the Association for Innovation and Development (Asociacion para la Innovación y el Desarrollo) INDES will co-develop, co-deliver, and institutionalize capacity-building activities for local government personnel to identify, report, refer, and follow up on labor violations. This will include developing a digital child labor tracking system.

To increase worker knowledge of labor abuses and labor rights, POA will assess workers’ information needs, experiences, and trusted organizations to inform capacity building priorities. POA will train and mentor producer associations, unions, and other local actors (e.g., Rights Protection Councils and Boards, agricultural extension workers, Agroquality officials, indigenous associations, and schools) selected groups as they roll out training and awareness raising to workers and communities. Concurrently, informed by its internal assessment, the project will convene bipartite and tripartite social dialogue spaces to strengthen worker voice in discussions with government and industry and to engage medium and large employers in increasing labor compliance along their supply chains. POA will partner with the Decentralized Autonomous Governments (Gobiernos Autónomos Descentralizados (GADs) to integrate enforcement, awareness-raising, social dialogue, capacity building, and shared learning and 
knowledge sharing into community development plans and budgets.

POA will also undertake an analysis of constraints and opportunities to increase worker access to restitution and identify and select pilot solutions to address them. Workers will be trained to advocate to the Rights Protection Councils and Boards Councils and will jointly develop remediation mechanisms. Based on the pilot results, POA will roll-out these restitution mechanisms. This will involve training, technical assistance, and ongoing support to worker organizations, producer and community associations and Councils. POA will help develop locally adapted, anonymous reporting platforms and strengthen remediation mechanisms within large companies.

Outcomes: 1) Increased capacity of government officials to enforce labor laws related to child labor, forced labor, occupational safety and health, and other labor rights in the agricultural sector; 2) Increased worker knowledge about labor abuses and labor rights in the agricultural sector); and 3) Increased worker access to remediation of labor law violations within the agricultural sector.

Beneficiaries: Communities in the target provinces who are vulnerable to violation of their labor rights, particularly women, children, migrants, and indigenous and Afro-descendant populations. The project will also serve key institutions: Ministries of Labor, Agriculture, and Economic and Social Inclusion, GADs, Councils and Boards and their members, worker organizations, producer associations, community organizations, and formal sector cut flower and banana companies.

Partners of the Americas
Implementing Partners:
Asociacion para la Innovación y el Desarrollo (INDES)
Contact Information: / Office of Child Labor, Forced Labor, and Human Trafficking (OCFT)
Child Labor
Forced Labor
Labor Rights
Occupational Safety & Health (OSH)