You might have noticed that this year the theme of Fairtrade Fortnight was bananas…and you might have wondered why make so much fuss about just one fruit.  This article by Jon Jardine explains it very well…

Britain’s beaten bananas

Bananas are our most popular and most traded fruit in the world. Here in Britain, we Brits reiterate that fact as we consume 5 billion bananas per year, which costs us £550 million to do so. Whilst this may seem like a cause for celebration, the fact is that someone suffers because of these statistics. Millions of banana farmers and workers who grow the world’s favourite fruit have suffered from having their wages cut. So, what is the cause of this? The answer is simple: bananas are being bought and sold cheaply in the UK.
There is now a great deal of pressure in the banana business to keep prices low enough. However, this factor is having a drastic impact on many banana farmers and workers lives as many are now in poverty. We Brits buy the majority of our bananas from major supermarkets. These supermarkets are in a continual battle with each other in a price war. Due to their popularity, bananas are a key item which they price check against each other to attract more customers. In order to sell the bananas cheap enough, they need to buy them cheap. This is a major contributing factor to the farmers and workers who are struggling to make a living. This trend cannot continue.
The solution to this problem is simple: match with price with the work. Fairtrade are working to persuade all leading supermarkets do things differently and do it the right way. This starts by demanding that the price of loose bananas reflects their true cost. This would effectively create a decent living for the farmers and workers. Whilst the solution is simple, the reality is not the same. Supermarkets will continue to have price wars, so it is highly unlikely one will take the stand as they would mostly likely lose out on money. The next step would be to get the government to intervene in order to end unfair supermarket pricing. If the government made a stand, they would be protecting the millions of poor farmers and workers who grow the UK’s favourite fruit.
Jon Jardine
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