image from blogcritics.org
The World Fairtrade Banana Eating Record is to be set today and tomorrow. As part of the annual Fairtrade Fortnight, over 200,000 people have signed up to eat one Fairtrade banana each as part of a world record attempt.
Go bananas for Fairtrade. They are serious business: by eating them you will be supporting small farmers and workers in developing countries who rely on the Fairtrade price to earn a sustainable living and improve their communities.
image from Fairtrade Foundation
The competition is part of an important campaign to raise awareness about the importance of Fairtrade bananas. The Fairtrade Foundation has launched a new report "Unpeeling the Banana Trade" which reveals the true cost of cheap bananas and unfair trade rules.
In the UK, between 2002 and 2008, the price of bananas has dropped due to price wars by big supermarkets. The research shows the impact is felt along the supply chain--usually the growers who are often forced to sell their fruit for very little, often less than it cost them to grow. This pressure inevitably results in lower wages, longer hours and worsening working conditions for plantation workers.
Between 1992 and 2007, banana imports from the Caribbean countries fell from 70% to less than 30%, whilst cheaper Latin American bananas increased. They now make up almost half of UK imports. Costa Rica is the biggest supplier, with 25% of total imports. Since Caribbean producers remain almost entirely dependent on UK sales, the decline has had a devastating effect.
In addition, EU policies have had a major impact on the world trade in bananas. It's a complicated story and the implications are not good.
The report concludes: "However, it is clear from the description of the impacts outlined above that a guaranteed minimum price, coupled with high social and environmental standards and fair trading relationships across the supply chain, can start to reverse the damage of decades of unfair trade. To make real, lasting changes to the banana industry for the benefit of the most disadvantaged in the supply chain, there are ways for everyone, from farmers to consumers, to do their bit."
According to the Financial TImes::
â— The best-selling Fairtrade products are bananas — £184m in retail sales last year
â— The next best are coffee at £137m; sugar at £109m; and tea at £65m
â— Fairtrade sales of tea doubled last year as more supermarkets switched their own brands
â— Nearly three-quarters of British households bought Fairtrade goods last year
â— Hundreds of products are licensed to carry the mark, including lychees, muesli and ice-cream
â— Exceptions include pulses such as lentils, soya and seafood