It is a labour intensive sector that has been impacted negatively by HIV and AIDS over time with a resultant reduction of production, loss of household incomes, loss of skilled and experienced labour force which has posed a threat to the socio-economic development of the country.
Agricultural workers are often excluded from community based initiatives and support systems due to the fact that large plantations especially coffee, flower, sisal and tea farms are usually enclosed and with limited access to HIV services and more often with lack of social protection further increasing their vulnerability. The workers are also reluctant to take HIV services provided by employers due to fear of disclosure and consequent discrimination or even termination hence the need for the union’s intervention to sensitize workers on HIV/SGBV and provide onsite testing and linkage to care, support and treatment as the Unions have been active in advocating for rights of workers and in elimination of stigma and discrimination at the workplace.
In the month of May, 2017 ILO will support COTU(K) to roll out VCT@WORK initiatives in Naivasha, Nairobi and Kilifi Counties targeting Agricultural Sector workers through their affiliate, the Kenya Plantation and Agricultural Workers Union (KPAWU). The objective of the initiative is to enhance HIV/SGBV interventions in the Agricultural Sector and increase social protection coverage for sustaining HIV services.