News archive

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...
Read more
Côte d'Ivoire ravaged by torrential rains 16.07.2014
Africa's largest banana exporter lost nearly a quarter of its annual production in floods caused by torrential rains at the end of June. The floods and accompanying landlslides have caused the deaths of 39 people.Olivier Biberson, the managing director of Côte d'Ivoire's largest banana company, Compagnie Frutirère subsidiary SCB, estimated that more than 75,000 tonnes and 1 300 hectares of bananas had been lost in the region of Niéky, threatening the livelihoods of some 1 500 workers and their families. Local roads and surrounding food crop lands were also seriously damaged.During a visit to...
Read more
Commission passes on hot potato of Unfair Trading Practices 16.07.2014
The European Commission has missed the chance today to push for a level playing-field and robust enforcement mechanism on Unfair Trading Practices. Instead, it calls on industry and EU Member States to take action and delays its decision to end 2015. The Fair Trade movement regrets the negative impact this non-decision will have on workers and farmers supplying the EU market. The European Commission issued today a Communication Tackling unfair trading practices in the business-to-business food supply chain as a follow-up to the Green Paper on Unfair Trading Practices of 31 January 2013 . In...
Read more
Colombian storm damage threatens already vulnerable industry 16.07.2014
On 9th July, strong winds and heavy rain affected some 16000 hectares of export bananas and 2 500 hectares of plantains in the Uraba region of Northern Colombia. According to the Banana Producers' Association, Augura, 4500 hectares of bananas and 1000 hectares of plantains were completely destroyed.The damage was not just economic. 1600 houses were also destroyed or damaged, many of them belonging to banana workers or small-scale plantain farmers. Following a visit to the affected region by Agriculture Minister Rubén Lizzarralde, the Government promised to put together a compensation package....
Read more
Another CBA success in Honduras! 09.07.2014
A Honduran banana workers’ union has signed a collective bargaining agreement with Chiquita Brands International subsidiary Tela Railroad Company, after what has been described as “10 long months of negotiations”.COLSIBA has announced that the deal between the company and the Tela Railrod Co. Workers’ Union (SITRATERCO) included a raise of 27% in hourly pay rates over a three-year period.SITRATERCO president Elías Fúnez said clauses relating to salaries and health had remained stagnant, and there were no other steps left but mediation, describing the situation as “very cumbersome” and...
Read more
EU action needed for fair supermarket supply chains 09.07.2014
Policy and case study research by a European coalition of civil society organisations shows that EU policy action is needed to secure decent work and prevent unfair trading practices in supermarket supply chains from developing countries. “We call on the European Parliament and the European Commission to step in as the policies supermarkets have adopted are not addressing these issues properly and new measures that have been set up by the industry will not offer a solution either”, says SOMO-researcher Sanne van der Wal. SOMO that is part of the CSO coalition sent its new briefing to EU...
Read more
No tan Bonita! Alamos works' committee and union leaders fired 02.07.2014
Workers at the giant 1200 hectare Los Alamos plantation have once again had their right to organise violated. Los Alamos is owned by the Noboa group and workers there have struggled for more than 12 years to improve conditions. Last month, just 4 days after being elected, 17 members of a works committee were fired. On 25 June the General Secretary and Treasurer of the SITBA union were also fired after raising the issue of an unexplained 1% deduction on the 1200 workers' pay cheques backdated to February. The 17 sacked workers were elected by union members to form a Comité de Empresa, This is...
Read more
Honduran workers start negotiations in former Tres Hermanas 30.06.2014
After nearly 18 months of conflictual relations that led to an international campaign denouncing labour rights violations, workers have initiated negotiations with the new owners, Chiquita. Workers employed by the new company, now renamed Agricola Santa Rita, have joined the trade union STAS (Agroindustrial & Allied Workers' Union) in large numbers.A successful organising campaign has seen many workers join STAS in recent weeks, reaching a total of nearly 100% of the permanent workforce. However, a large number of workers are employed on successive temporary contracts. Honduran law states...
Read more
Fairtrade Czech Republic Extends its Activities to Slovakia 20.05.2014
Fairtrade Czech Republic has changed its name to Fairtrade Czech Republic and Slovakia. The new scope covers activities in Slovakia, with a focus on Slovak retailers and promotion of the FAIRTRADE Mark. Retailers in Slovakia are increasingly interested in Fairtrade. Alongside this, it is highly important to raise more awareness of Fairtrade amongst Slovak consumers. “For a long time we have been aware of the need of our Slovakian business partners for a more significant support from Czech Republic, where we already have a Fairtrade marketing organization. By extending our activities to...
Read more
Dutch chain Jumbo joins banana price wars 19.05.2014
The damaging British banana price war has spread, as Banana Link predicted, to continental Europe. Although the second biggest supermarket chain in the Netherlands refuses to accept that it started a price ‘war’ on bananas, all the signs are there. When Jumbo cut the retail price of its conventional bananas late last year to 99 euro cents per kilo, fears that generalised price-cutting could start destroying the value of this already cheap product were confirmed. Other chains like the No.1 Albert Heijn reacted by matching the Jumbo price on part of their range. Other chains also followed suit...
Read more

Pages