Kenyan workers for Israel

NAIROBI. – Kenya is set to send 1 500 farm workers to Israel, according to the country’s labour ministry. This move follows Malawi sending 221 workers to Israel, which faced criticism.

The casual labourers will work on three-year renewable contracts, ensuring a net monthly income of US$1 500.

Israel, grappling with a significant farm labour shortage, has turned to Africa for assistance, with over 10,000 migrant workers, mainly from Thailand, leaving since the conflict with Hamas began in October. Palestinian workers, constituting nearly 20 percent of the agricultural labour force, have been barred.

To address the shortfall, Israel plans to recruit farm workers from Uganda, with recruitment already underway in Tanzania. The shortage is attributed to around 360,000 Israeli reservists called up for military service since the conflict’s onset. Israel’s agriculture ministry states a need for 30-40 000 farm workers.

The announcement has sparked mixed reactions in Kenya, with concerns raised about worker safety. Critics question the conditions workers may face in Israel, referencing past reports of unsafe practices and unsanitary living conditions.

However, supporters argue that the deal provides crucial employment opportunities amid Kenya’s unemployment crisis, with a 5.5 percentunemployment rate according to the World Bank. –

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