As Banana Workers’ Health Rots, Some Blame Chemicals, Living Conditions

As their children danced and roughhoused in front of thousands of banana trees, the workers who pick and pack the long yellow bananas for export, lounging after their shift, said they were just recovering from fevers and stomach issues.

Before the Pchum Ben holidays last month, Vong Suth, an assistant to one of the managers at the Stung Treng plantation TBYB Angkor Banana, said three to four workers per day were failing to report for their 7 a.m. shifts in his unit.

At its peak, dozens of workers living inside the plantation were failing to report for work, and he said some were spending their low wages to travel off the campus and visit a pharmacy for medicine — a hefty expense when they would not be earning their 25,000-riel (about $6.25) wage for that day.

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