News archive

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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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...
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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...
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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....
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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...
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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...
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