it’s important to us that we are a reliable partner to foreign berry pickers
As we are approaching the berry harvest season, it is important to ensure that foreign berry pickers want to come to Finland and that Finnish wild berries can be harvested responsibly. The situation of Thai berry pickers has been discussed in different media and it is good that the problems discovered will be thoroughly investigated.
From our part we strive to critically evaluate our own operations regarding berry pickers invited to Finland. We have carefully investigated the accusations presented in media and tried to find out what’s behind these. Responsible berry purchasing is elementary for our company, so it’s important to us that we are a reliable partner to foreign berry pickers and can develop their conditions and operations of the whole berry field to be more transparent.
It’s clear that we need to do better in the future. We have already started to implement following actions:
- Better control over the recruiting process and picker education on site in Thailand.
- More visits to accommodation places of the pickers during the harvest season. In addition, our customers and co-operators have possibility to make their own audits.
- Encouraging pickers to inform us directly of the possible defects through an easy contact channel.
- Proposal to relevant ministries to increase the requirement for minimum daily earning, to ensure better earnings for the pickers.
MAJORITY OF THE PICKERS COME AGAIN – YEAR AFTER YEAR
Since 2007 Kiantama has invited thousands of Thai berry pickers to Finland. Every year majority of the pickers return, as they have been satisfied with berry picking, their earnings, and conditions in Finland.
Our co-operators have educated the pickers beforehand, and they have been given estimates of the berry prices during the coming season. Every picker has had the possibility to finance most of their trip expenses with no-interest loan from Kiantama. During the harvest season pickers have filled in a questionnaire and evaluated their overall contentment, possible defects, quality of the food and level of exhaustion, and we have reacted to findings soonest. In addition to authority audits, we have visited and checked the accommodation places ourselves.
Our mission is to make it possible for every picker to make good earnings: pickers are sent to areas where the crops are known to be good, and we follow and support the progress of new pickers. There’s also an expert on every area who helps pickers to find good picking places. Time used for picking is defined by the pickers themselves.
Especially the earnings level of the pickers has been discussed. In Finland every picker is guaranteed the minimum earning stated by Schengen visa rules. It depends then on the amount of berries picked, how much the picker can save to take home. The minimum earning is defined by Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment.