The fruits of their labour – The low wages behind Moroccan tomatoes sold in European supermarkets

21 September 2014

Fairfood International’s newest report exposes the poverty wages paid to workers in the Moroccan tomato sector. These tomatoes are picked and packed by tens of thousands of workers who do not receive a living wage for their arduous work. The fruit is then sold by European supermarkets who receive the lion’s share of the profits.

Fairfood’s report The fruits of their labour – The low wages behind Moroccan tomatoes sold in European supermarkets was published on 9 September 2014 and is an initiative of Fairfood’s Morocco project. This project has conducted research in the Souss Massa Drâa region: one of the main sources of tomatoes for many European supermarkets during the winter months.

This report ties in with Fairfood’s Living Wage campaign, which sees a living wage – a wage sufficient for the basic needs of workers and their families, such as food, clothing, healthcare and education – as a human right.

The key issues in the report are:

  • In winter, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Albert Heijn and other European supermarkets sell tomatoes which are sourced from Morocco;
  • They are picked and packed by tens of thousands Moroccan workers, mainly female, who earn painfully low wages;
  • Moroccan tomato pickers and packers earn between 5 and 8 Euros a day, while their costs of living are around 15 Euros a day. Therefore they are unable to make ends meet and must live in poverty;
  • Supermarkets have the power and influence to determine what consumers buy, as well as how and under what conditions the food is produced;
  • Fairfood calls upon supermarkets to take up their responsibility and to ensure a living wage for all their workers in their supply chains.

Read the report ‘The fruits of their labour