News archive

Generating a climate of cooperation - Banana Trade News Bulletin 05.11.2017
No. 57 | November 2017 Welcome to this pre-World Banana Conference edition of the Bulletin, in which we set out our thoughts on how the banana industry needs to generate a climate of cooperation to tackle the issues we face together, including the threat of TR4, providing decent and safe working conditions on plantations and distributing value fairly along supply chains. We also have reports on how small famers in the Philippines are building climate resilience, our own worker empowerment programme in Cameroon and Ghana, building union solidarity in Peru and the impact of the recent Labour...
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Cooperation and new thinking needed to save the banana 01.11.2017
Ahead of the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum (WBF) taking place in Geneva next week, Dr Iain Farquhar of Banana Link and the WBF Working Group on Sustainable Production Systems and Environmental Impact, outlines the need for both cooperation and new thinking in addressing the threat of disease to our bananas.  Since the near collapse of the banana industry in the 1950s and the replacement of Gros Michel with Cavendish, a variety which proved resistant to the original ‘Panama Disease’ (as it was then called), the banana industry has massively expanded and made huge strides in terms...
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Gender, social dialogue and fair trade among issues at COLSIBA conference 18.10.2017
The 14th conference of COLSIBA (the Coordinating Body of Latin American Banana and Agro-industrial Unions) was held at the Grand Hotel in San Pedro Sula, Honduras from the 11 to 13 of October, Bert Schouwenburg, International Officer of the GMB, reports.   In attendance were affiliates from Colombia, Peru, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. Also present were representatives from 3F (Denmark) GMB (UK) Solidarity Center (USA), ILRF (USA), BanaFair (Germany) and two organisers from a new agro industrial union in Ecuador. The meeting received and approved reports...
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Aldi joins the World Banana Forum 18.10.2017
German discounters Aldi Nord and Aldi Süd have both joined the World Banana Forum (WBF) - an initiative that promotes fair working conditions and sustainable production for bananas.   The WBF includes stakeholders from all areas of the industry, including producers, unions, importers, suppliers and distributors.   "We are one of the largest banana traders in the world. Therefore, it was important to us to be a sign in this area as well," said Rayk Mende, corporate responsibility director of the Aldi Nord Group.   "The World Banana Forum helps improve social conditions along the supply chain....
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Gender-based violence in the Central American agricultural industry 28.09.2017
Iris Munguia, Coordinator of our partner organisation, COLSIBA (the Regional Coordination of Latin American Banana & Agro-Industrial Workers’ Unions), recently spoke to www.opendemocracy.net about gender based violence and discrimination in the Central American agricultural industry.    My name is Iris Munguía. I am from Honduras, I am a member of the Women’s Secretariat of the Federation of Agricultural Unions, and I am also coordinating a project at the regional level through the Latin American Coordinator for Banana and Agricultural Unions (COLSIBA, in Spanish initials). The COLSIBA...
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UPDATES: Hurricane Maria devastating banana production in the Caribbean 20.09.2017
Support the Official Dominica Hurricane Relief Fund here: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/dominica-hurricanerelief   29 September 2017WINFRESH comes to assistance of Dominica   WINFRESH, the largest exporter of agricultural produce from the Windward Islands, has quickly responded to the plight of the people of hurricane-hit Dominica. Working in collaboration with the Dominica High Commission, the Company’s UK operation at Stansted in the United Kingdom, this week, loaded four forty-foot containers bearing relief supplies for Dominica. These were handled with great haste, by WINFRESH...
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Fyffes’ suspension from the ETI maintained for the time being 18.09.2017
We reproduce below the statement published by the Ethical Trading Initiative on 18 September 2017:   ETI’s tripartite board of companies, trade unions and NGOs reviewed the suspension of Fyffes’ membership at our board meeting on 14 September 2017.     The ETI Board noted that a process of dialogue is now underway between Fyffes, Sumitomo and the International Union of Foodworkers (IUF).   While the Board recognised this as a constructive step forward, they also considered it too early to say whether the move will address ETI’s concerns about conditions for workers in Honduras.   The Board...
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Continued discrimination and labour rights abuses at Anexco 13.09.2017
The Costa Rican trade union SINTRAPEM (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores/as del Sector Privado Empresarial) and union co-ordinating body COSIBACR report that, despite positive developments in our online campaign, the Fyffes owned Anexco continues to abuse labour rights and discriminate against trade union members on its plantation.  We reproduce below the points thay have recorded to demonstrate the ongoing issues:    WORKERS’ HEALTH   We should begin by saying that Fyffes has not been keeping to its word, and we have included just some examples of this:  Workers are transported in wagons in...
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“NOW I AM BOLD” A photographic celebration of the work of Banana Link 07.09.2017
To mark twenty one years of achievement in making a real difference to the lives of the plantation workers and small-scale farmers that produce the tropical fruit we eat, Banana Link has a photographic exhibition running for the month of September at The Norwich Playhouse.    The exhibition is in the upper and lower corridors of The Norwich Playhouse, leading to the auditorium, and free to access at any time during the day.    The Norwich Playhouse 42-58 St George's Street Norwich NR3 1AB   A proud record of achievement    Most of the bananas and pineapple we eat are grown on large scale...
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Banana Link Trustee, trade unionist and peace activist, Don Pollard passes away 05.09.2017
Banana Link is saddened by the recent passing of our one time trustee, trade unionist and peace activist, Don Pollard. To mark his passing we reproduce below his obituary, published in The Guardian:   The trade unionist and peace activist Don Pollard, who has died aged 80, was one of the driving forces behind the Gangmasters (Licensing) Act 2004, legislation brought in by the British government to curb the exploitation of agricultural and food workers in the UK.   It took the Morecambe Bay tragedy to bring his and fellow union organisers’ efforts to fruition. In 2004, 23 Chinese workers...
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