CASE STUDY

Equipping the East African Growers team with social auditing skills



Improving compliance and effective self-auditing through training and skills transfer



 
East African Growers (EAG) are large growers, processors, packers and exporters of Grade 1 Vegetables, Fruits and Flowers to premium markets within Europe. To improve their international social audit systems and compliance to social standards, Partner Africa developed this pilot project with them in 2019, spanning over 18 months.

To capture the status of social audit processes and compliance of EAG, Partner Africa had first conducted a gap assessment of three out of all 25 EAG farms, which followed Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) audit protocols. After analysing the results, Partner Africa used a participatory approach by working in conjunction with EAG to design suitable corrective actions plans for both the selected three farms, as well as the other EAG contracted farms. These plans all served the aim to enhance compliance to SMETA requirements and upholding social and labour standards.

“With regards to the farms, a number of them have made great progress in ensuring compliance and improving their internal systems by implementing the recommended corrective actions.”
Testimonial from Partner Africa Lead Auditor


Partner Africa executed the following activities:
– Development of a practical toolkit for each EAG farm ranging contracts and payslip templates to human rights policies
– Delivery of a training on ethical trade, the importance of audits and the benefits of responsible business practices and compliance to EAG staff and farmers
– Delivery of a training on tools and knowledge to perform internal audits on all farms supplying EAG.

Partner Africa did not use a one-size-fits-all approach, but adapted each tool and training for each farm, depending on their needs and the size of the farm to be audited.

Key Results:


Worker health safety and hygiene and record keeping (payroll, working hours, etc) have significantly improved 
Worker knowledge of expected standards has increased 
Reduced number of non-compliances on average from the first gap assessment and the initial external audits conducted 
Increased use of formal policies and procedures 

The PA-EAG partnership is an ongoing one, and PA will continue to provide support and guidance where needed and will continue to audit the relevant farms based on the planned rotation schedule in order to provide independent, third-party assurance.


“I have seen good cooperation from the farmers. It has improved good working relationship between the company and the farmers. The ethical trade programme we have put in place is a good forum for exchange of ideas and feedback from the farmers / farmer workers especially on social compliance.”

Testimonial from Nipul Dodhia, Managing Director Of EAG