Knowledge for better food systems

Fairtrade foundation report on making Bananas Fair

A new policy report from the Fairtrade foundation, Britain’s Bruising Banana Wars: Why cheap bananas threaten farmers’ futures looks at how price pressures in many banana producing countries have led to job losses, the casualisation of labour and the marginalising of smallholder producers. These in turn negatively affects wages, access to services and the environmental sustainability of banana production.

A new policy report from the Fairtrade foundation, Britain’s Bruising Banana Wars: Why cheap bananas threaten farmers’ futures looks at how price pressures in many banana producing countries have led to job losses, the casualisation of labour and the marginalising of smallholder producers. These in turn negatively affects wages, access to services and the environmental sustainability of banana production.

As Pascal Liuviii, senior economist at FAO and manager of the World Banana Forum notes in the report, failure to implement sustainability principles in the banana sector can be attributed to very low producer prices, which in turn are related to low consumer prices. When producers do not get enough pay they are not able to invest in sustainable production methods.

The report describes the banana value chain and market environment and goes on to recommend steps for creating a more sustainable banana industry. Recommendations include creating an inclusive market, assisting communities in creating decent work with living wages and ensuring the right to unionise as well as including social and environmental externalities in pricing. They also conclude with specific recommendations aimed at  key stakeholders: the UK’s Defra and DFID, the EU and FAO, and civil society organisations, market regulators, business and the public).

For more information see the report here .You can also read more about the campaign to Make Bananas Fair here.

Read more about industry actions here and CSR and agricultural commodity trade here.

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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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