News archive

Sainsbury's-Asda merger investigation welcome 20.09.2018
The £15bn merger between Sainsbury's and Asda is to be subjected to an in-depth investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), who said the deal "raises sufficient concerns to be referred for a more in-depth review".   Following its initial review, the CMA said: "The companies are two of the largest grocery retailers in the UK and their stores overlap in hundreds of local areas, where shoppers could face higher prices or worse quality of service." The supermarkets themselves say prices will fall.   When the merger was originally announced in May this year, Banana Link expressed...
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Plastic-free first for Iceland bananas 14.09.2018
Iceland is claiming a UK supermarket first by introducing plastic-free packaging for its pre-packed bananas.   The frozen food specialist's bananas will now be packaged in a paper band which is 100% recyclable and made from recycled paper, in a switch it says will save 10 million plastic bags a year.   The fruit will be the first product in any major UK supermarket to bear the Plastic Free Trust Mark, launched by A Plastic Planet earlier this year. The mark is designed to inform and empower consumers to make plastic-free choices.   The new packaging has launched in three Iceland stores as an...
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Compagnie Fruitière expands organic production 13.09.2018
The French banana importer has committed to boosting the area of its organic plantations and reducing its use of plant protection products   French banana importer Compagnie Fruitière has laid out its roadmap for sustainable banana production in Africa, prepared alongside environmental non-profit WWF France.   The two groups agreed a partnership last year with the aim of promoting sustainable agriculture, including reducing the use of synthetic fertilisers and plant protection products in its plantations.   The roadmap includes a commitment from Compagnie Fruitière to expand organic farming...
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Tesco’s banana price hike highlights poor income for plantation workers 11.09.2018
The recent announcement that Tesco has more than doubled the price of loose bananas in its Tesco Metro and Express stores is a timely reminder of the link between prices and income for plantation workers.    “The truth is that loose bananas have been at unsustainably low retail prices in the UK for years, so upward movement is potentially good news”, said Alistair Smith, International Coordinator of Banana Link. “However, in raising the price, Tesco has not yet made the link in its public statements to the issue of living income and living wages. We would urge the company to make this link...
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Cameroon: CDC exported lowest banana volume in 13 years, in August 2018 10.09.2018
In August this year, Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) exported only 1,488 tons of banana, its worst export performance in one month since 2005, according to the Cameroon Banana Association (Assobacam). The volume is also just over six times less than the volume exported in August last year (8,560).   During the period under review, CDC slightly exceeded the volume exported by Boh Plantations (Bpl) which stood at 1,164 tons. Meanwhile, the banana market leader Haut Penja Plantation Company (PHP) exported 12,261 tons.   Sources said the poor performance by CDC is due to Anglophone...
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Banana Link support enables women's trade union workshop in Ecuador 06.09.2018
Thanks to support from Banana Link, the new banana workers trade union in Ecuador, SINUTRABE, was able recently to hold its first Women's Workshop for women representatives.    Ecuador is the world’s largest banana producing country. However, women represent only 5% of this workforce because they are viewed as 'high cost, high risk' employees. Women workers face discrimination, harassment, and multiple health and safety risks, and are often unaware of their rights and how to defend them. This is exasperated by trade union discrimination; less than 5% of Ecuadorian agro-industrial workers are...
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Banana Link asks UK Government to mediate crisis in Cameroon 05.09.2018
In response to the serious political crisis in South West Cameroon, which has seen eleven banana plantations belonging to state-owned company Cameroon Development Corporation (CDC) closed because of insecurity in the region, and up to ten thousand jobs under imminent threat, Banana Link wrote to the UK government seeking their help to mediate the crisis in the UK Commonwealth country.  Despite writing on 3 August, we have as yet received no reply to our letter, which has been reported recently in The Sun newspaper in Cameroon.  Reproduced below is a copy of The Sun article, plus a copy of our...
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Japanese consumer groups campaigning for ethical bananas from the Philippines 30.08.2018
Following the recent launch of an “Ethical Banana” campaign in Tokyo to promote environmental protection and social justice for the Filipino farmers, civil society organizations (CSOs) and consumer groups in Japan have initiated a system to monitor bananas exported from the Philippines.   The campaign, launched by the Interface Development Interventions (IDIS), seeks to encourage Japanese consumers to buy bananas produced by companies that observe good agricultural practices and promote the welfare of the banana farmers.   Bananas are the third largest food commodity in the Philippines in...
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Experts meet in Boston to discuss worsening banana fungal disease 29.08.2018
Panama disease, the fungal disease that lives in soils across the tropics, appears to be spreading more rapidly than first feared. This was one of the findings discussed at the recent International Congress of Plant Pathology (ICPP) conference that took place in Boston from July 29 - August 3. ICPP occurs every five years and provides an opportunity for industry professionals and scientists to discuss current issues and come up with potential solutions.   This year, part of the program was devoted to the Panama disease and the news was not good for banana growers. A strain of the fungal...
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African workers’ voice stronger and united 26.07.2018
After five years of efforts to bring together the different organisations in the three main African banana exporting countries, the trade unions came together last week in Abidjan affirming that the voice of African workers is increasingly strong and united. Whilst significant progress for workers has been made, there is still much to do.   The International Union of Food workers (IUF), with the support of Banana Link, successfully facilitated the launch of the African Network of Women and Men Banana Workers in 2013 at Limbé in Cameroon. With valuable support from the German Friedrick Ebert...
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