Field Notes: Partner Africa’s Social Audits in Chimoio, Mozambique

Partner Africa social auditors are currently auditing in Chimoio, the capital of Manica Province in Mozambique.

Chimoio lies 100 km north of Maputo and 95 km from the Zimbabwean border. Social audits are carried out on farms and packhouses located up to 160 km from Chimoio in the districts of Sussundenga, Vanduzi, Zembe and Catandica. This area has a tropical humid climate. We are currently experiencing very heavy rainfall and windy conditions as a result of cyclone Freddy that has made landfall north of us in Zamezia Province.

Travelling to sites takes long because of the condition of the roads – there are many potholes to contend with. As a result of this, our team has had more time to take in the surroundings. The landscape is beautiful and lush because of the high rainfall, but unemployment and poverty are the contrasting realities in this area.

Agriculture in Manica Province provides an important source of employment for the local communities. There is a steady increase in agricultural development in the province. The main agricultural production is macadamia nuts and avocados – all for export markets. Litchis are also grown and harvested, but to a lesser degree. Farmers are struggling with the hefty production costs due to the increase in fuel and fertiliser costs. Commercial farms adjoin rural communities and environmental conservation areas.

  • There are liaison teams on most of the farms to ensure good lines of communication between communities and farming operations.
  • Farm labour is sourced from these rural villages/communities.
  • Farms operate 6 days a week for 8 hours per day.
  • The minimum wage for farm workers is MTZ5200 per month (USD81), or MTZ182 per day (USD2.85)
  • Most of the local people supplement their income by growing maize, bananas, and cassava (subsistence farming).
  • Charcoal is produced (from wood) in small quantities and sold along the roadside or transported into town to be sold.

As social auditors, we have been welcomed by management and workers. Regardless of the sometimes harsh and difficult circumstances they face, everyone is friendly and helpful. Businesses welcome a fresh set of eyes to assess their progress in their efforts to implement fair labour practices and continuous improvements in their operation. Workers engage willingly in interviews and share their experience of working and living conditions.

“It is a humbling experience and I do believe that social auditors grow and learn a lot through these experiences.”

Kathy O'Grady, Auditor Training Manager

Learn more about the work we do to improve the livelihoods and working conditions of vulnerable workers in African supply chains.

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