AFRICA/KENYA - Agricultural workers from Malawi and Kenya are supposed to work in Israeli fields

Thursday, 7 December 2023 farmers   wars  

Nairobi (Agenzia Fides) - African agricultural workers are to work in Israeli fields as a replacement for Palestinian and Thai workers. After around 220 agricultural workers were recruited in Malawi in recent weeks, it is now the turn of 1,500 Kenyan farmers. According to the announcement by the Kenyan Ministry of Labor, the agricultural workers from Kenya will be hired on renewable three-year contracts. There is a severe labor shortage on farms in Israel as more than 10,000 migrant workers, mostly Thai nationals, have left agriculture since the Hamas conflict began on October 7. Palestinian workers, who previously made up nearly 20% of Israel's agricultural workforce, have been banned from working due to the conflict. The announcement of sending Kenyan workers to Israel provoked mixed reactions in Kenya: on the one hand, concern for the safety of workers, on the other hand, support for the agreement with Israel given the urgent need for jobs as a result of Kenya's employment crisis and the rising cost of living. According to the World Bank, the unemployment rate in Kenya is 5.5 percent. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 7/12/2023)