NGOs Call for Action on Dutch Flower Company

A number of NGOs led by the Uganda Association of Women Lawyers (FIDA) have asked government to come out and regulate the horticulture sector in a way that suits the working conditions of all Ugandans.

The call follows recent complaints by workers at the Royal Van Zanten, sickness a Dutch owned flower farm in Wakiso district about life threatening working conditions.

Royal Van Zanten, pharmacy which has two branches in Wakiso and  Mukono, page first came in bad light in December when it reportedly released dogs to chase its workers who were protesting poor pay.

Last month, two of its Greenhouses 6 and 7 were allegedly fumigated with Metam Sodium chemical which left 82 women experiencing health complications like vomiting, headache, difficulty in breathing, skin irritation and others.

While addressing the media on Monday, the Executive Director FIDA Irene Ovonji Odida said it was time for the Ministry of Gender and Police to intervene in the matter.

Odida revealed that she and her group tried to go and inspect the farm but they were locked outside where they waited for the workers to come out and talk to them.

One of the affected workers Resty Nantume told press yesterday at the FIDA Conference, “We told the manager that the greenhouse had just been fumigated and he insisted that we go in and work. Coming out, everyone was in pain; we were given Panadols and also told to get rests, that we were just hungry”

The Ministry of Gender last year investigated this particular farm about workers’ complaints but their findings were not publicized.

“The Ministry should come out and share with the public its findings. Police too should always be there to protect its people when such incidences occur,” the FIDA boss said.

Ovunji further asked government to commence fresh investigations into the company in respect to human rights and that the Dutch Embassy in Uganda should monitor the practices of its operations.


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