News archive

Haiti invests big in bananas 21.10.2014
Two million seedlings of organic bananas are to be planted over a thousand hectares as part of the launch of the Agritrans Project.This project, which brings together over 3,000 farmers from different associations, aims to produce organic bananas for export. To achieve its objectives, the FEPA/Agritrans consortium has modern agricultural equipment, pumps for irrigation, an artificial lake with a capacity of 700.000 gallons and plans to create about 3,000 jobs. The Government, through the Industrial Development Fund (IDF), made $6m available to the developer of this innovative and ambitious...
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Philippines: Government mulls moratorium on pineapple and banana farm expansion 07.10.2014
The Region 10 office of the Department of Agriculture (DA) is looking at a two-pronged approach of imposing a moratorium on the expansion of commercial crop plantations and strengthening upland rice programs to attain food sufficiency in Northern Mindanao. Banana and pineapple, two of the top ten agricultural export commodities, are two commercial crops that will be affected by the moratorium. In 2013, Region 10 produced 1.74 million metric tons of bananas and 1.34 MT of pineapple, most of which were shipped out to the foreign market.Several rice fields have already been converted to...
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France bans aerial pesticide spraying in overseas territories 07.10.2014
France has recently announced an extensive ban on the aerial spraying of pesticides throughout its territories, focused predominantly on maize and banana farms in the West Indies.The ban was approved by France’s Ecology Minister Ségolène Royal and will take immediate effect.The ban will then be extended to rice and grape crops as of Dec. 31 next year, giving farmers time to adopt alternative application methods.Aerial spraying is said to have become increasing unpopular for some time now, with complaints from residents living near the farms coupled with environmental concerns.In a release,...
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Low cost, low wages 07.10.2014
A video exposing the difference in price between pre-packaged and loose bananas has gone viral with over 2 million hits.Alan Hudson was shopping at his local Asda supermarket when he decided to weigh a bag of pre-packaged bananas in order to check if he was getting a good deal.  Hudson said he was ‘disgusted’ to find out that the £1 bag of pre-packaged bananas would cost 54p if bought loose and left him feeling ‘ripped off’.  Asda have justified the difference in price by saying that the pre-packaged bananas are ready to eat and are all packed by hand, whereas the loose banana require...
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US take Guatemala to arbitration for anti-union violence 23.09.2014
Unprecedented decision could be a game-changer for Guatemalan workersIt took over six years of a tortuous and hard fought legal battle, but Guatemalan workers have finally reasons to celebrate. Today the United States has agreed to take Guatemala to international arbitration for violating workers´ rights under the DR-CAFTA (Dominican Republic-Central American Free Trade Agreement). It is the very first time in history that one country has sought international arbitration against another for a violation of labour standards.The dispute started back in April 2008, when six Guatemalan unions and...
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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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