News archive

Mozambique banana exports increase 16.09.2014
In 2013 Mozambique exported an estimated 100k MT of bananas with South Africa as the principle export destination.    The export of bananas produced in Mozambique earned over US$70m last year, according to Antonio Gomes, vice-president of the Confederation of Economic Associations (CTA) with responsibility of the agricultural business. Mr Gomes said that on a weekly basis 80 trucks travel south with bananas for sale in South Africa, equivalent to 2K MT, thus totaling 100K MT per annum.   As a result of improvements in fruit harvesting and quality, the sale price has risen he said. Earlier...
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Cameroon to increase minimum wage 16.09.2014
After several days of negotiation, the Cameroonian government and representatives of employers and workers finally reached consensus on July 17 for the increase of the national minimum wage.   According to authorised sources at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the minimum wage will be raised from 28,000 FCFA to 36,270 FCFA, which is an increase of 8,000 FCFA. Parties on both sides have suggested that all that is left to make it official is regulatory action. However, this increase is far below the 150,000 FCFA proposed by the 12-union coalition or the 62,000 FCFA eventually...
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Costa Rican banana industry faces pesticide allegation 16.09.2014
Urine samples taken from pregnant women living in areas near banana plantations show increased concentration of ethylene thiourea (ETU) derived pesticides.   Pregnant women living in areas near banana plantations in Matina, Limón, have in their urine increased concentration of a substance called ethylene thiourea (ETU) derived pesticides. A study by the Regional Institute on Toxic Substances (IRET), National University (UNA) found that these women are up to five times more of the chemical than other areas. A long-term, high concentration of this substance may increase the risk of problems in...
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PHP to expand banana production 16.09.2014
The Compagnie Fruitière subsidiary is to increase the land under banana cultivation it already operates in southern Cameroon by 27%.   The Société des plantations du Haut Penja (PHP), an agro-foods company run by Compagnie Fruitière de Marseille, is planning to create a new banana plantation on over 1,976 acres in Dehane, a district located in the Ocean department in the southern region of Cameroon. This information was revealed in a call for tenders published on July 7, 2014 by the agro-industrial company regarding “the acquisition of complete under-tree irrigation equipment”. PHP is the...
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Women workers face crisis in Uraba, Colombia 03.09.2014
Following the strong winds in July that flattened over 5000 hectares of bananas - some 15% of the crop - in the main exporting region of Colombia, some seven hundred and fifty workers have been laid off, many indefinitely. Some employers have taken advantage of the need to lay off workers, says national agricultural workers’ union leader Adela Torres, to lay off women. These women, many of whom are single mothers, are now facing a serious social crisis.“Over a hundred of the workers laid off are women, a far higher proportion than the number of women working in the industry, which is about 5...
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West Africa - EU Economic Partnership Agreement signed 02.09.2014
West African and European Commission negotiators have signed the West Africa - EU Economic Partnership Agreement in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. The Agreement covers all 16 ACP countries of the West African region as well as their regional organizations ECOWAS and UEMOA. It seeks to establish a long-term sustainable partnership based among other things on the ECOWAS Common External Tariff and the EPA Development Program, to quote only the most visible pillars. The initialing of this EPA on June 30th will ensure a continuation of full preferential market access for bananas from Ghana and Cȏte D’...
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Pineapple Workers' Rights Defender On Trial Today 02.09.2014
Andy Hall will go on trial today in Thailand, accused of criminal libel by the Natural Fruit Company, a pineapple producer whose abusive treatment of Burmese migrants Andy exposed in a 2012 report Cheap has a high price. He found child labour, withheld wages, confiscated passports and even violence. If he loses and he faces a seven-year jail sentence and a multi-million dollar fine.  More than 300,000 people have taken action across the globe in defence of Andy Hall.The British Embassy in Thailand is sending an observer to the trial, as are several others, to demonstrate how important the...
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Asia's first ever 1,500-hectare "all-organic" Cavendish banana 19.08.2014
Asia's first ever 1,500-hectare "all-organic" Cavendish banana farm was opened on Monday.The farm is being developed jointly by a group of Muslim religious leaders, local entrepreneurs and two multinational benefactors, the Univex and the Delinanas, a subsidiary of the international Del Monte fruit firm.Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu told reporters the foreign capitalists of the “all organic” banana farm were motivated by how they can help change the image of Ampatuan municipality, tarnished by the gruesome politically motivated massacre on  Nov. 23, 2009 of 58 people, among them his...
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Brazilian suitor urges Chiquita shareholders to reject Fyffes merger 19.08.2014
The two Brazilian groups that made a tilt at purchasing Chiquita Brands International (NYSE: CQB) last week have made fresh moves after the bid was rejected by the company’s board. The Cutrale Group and the Safra Group, through their entity Cavendish Global Limited and its wholly owned subsidiary Cavendish Acquisition Corporation (known as ‘Cutrale-Safra’), has filed proxy materials calling on CQB shareholders to reject the proposed merger with Fyffes Plc (ESM: FFY) which goes up for vote on Sept. 17. “These proxy materials enable Chiquita shareholders to send a clear message to the Chiquita...
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Panama disease TR4 Task Force 28.07.2014
In December 2013, the World Banana Forum (WBF) established the ‘TR4 Task Force’ headed by an ad-hoc committee of Steering Committee members and WBF partners. The WBF’s TR4 Task Force has been created to facilitate information sharing and international dialogue to enable the development and implementation of action plans to prevent the spread of this fungus strain which threatens global export production.   Panama disease, or fusarium wilt, TR4 has infested banana plantations in Asia and has worryingly recently been reported in Jordan and Mozambique. Once present the disease cannot be...
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