The Banana Story

Fairtrade banana split with figuresBananas may be cheap and popular with the consumer, but who is paying the price? They are cheap partly because of the conditions under which they are grown. Nearly 90% of the world’s exports in bananas is controlled by six companies: Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita, Fyffes, Geest and Noboa. Most bananas for export are produced on huge single crop plantations in Latin America, with Ecuador accounting for nearly 40% of world trade.

Plantation workers endure long working hours and wages that don’t cover basic needs such as food, clothing and education; they are also exposed to hazardous chemicals which can cause terrible health problems including miscarriages, infertility, respiratory and skin problems.

Workers are often prevented from joining trade unions. Violent threats are not uncommon to union members and staff, and some union members find their names on lists that prevent them from gaining work on the plantations.

Fairtrade bananas have been available in the UK since 2000. The Fairtrade Mark ensures that a fair price is paid to cover the costs of production and includes a premium for social and environmental improvements.


Backed by research from Ethical Consumer the Fairtrade Foundation launched a campaign that to transform the banana industry.  They want to help those at the sharp end of the supply chain get a fair deal.

The Make Bananas Fair Campaign is all about ensuring that all banana farmers and farm workers earn enough to enjoy a decent standard of living, work in safe conditions and have proper rights and benefits.

In the last 10 years, a bitter price war has seen the UK supermarket sector almost halve the price of loose bananas while the cost of producing them has doubled. This is trapping many of the farmers and workers who grow them in poverty.




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