News archive

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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Bananas have died out once before – don’t let it happen again 23.07.2018
By Jackie Turner, an environmental scientist and journalist, currently crowdfunding for the film provisionally titled 'Bananageddon'. You probably take bananas for granted. In the United Kingdom, one in four pieces of fruit consumed is a banana and, on average, each Briton eats 10 kg of bananas per year; in the United States, that’s 12 kg, or up to 100 bananas. When I ask people, most seem to think bananas grow on trees. But they don’t, in either the literal or the figurative sense: in fact, they’re in danger of extinction. I knew almost nothing about bananas when I landed in Costa Rica in...
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Promoting training and job placement of young people in banana production in Colombia 06.07.2018
  The national president of Sintrainagro, Guillermo Rivera, recently delivered the certificates to young people who participated in the project "It's my turn" that promotes training and job placement of young people in banana production as well as the replenishment of union activists.   The event was attended, in addition to the leaders of the different sections, members of the National Board of Directors, the mayor of Apartadó, Eliécer Arteaga, and the director of the Central Unitaria de Trabajadores de Colombia (CUT), Diógenes Orjuela.   "On behalf of the National Board of Directors and all...
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Land but no freedom: Debt, poverty and human suffering in the Philippine banana trade 04.07.2018
As part of their Ripe for Change: Ending human suffering in supermarket supply chains campaign, Oxfam have published the case study reproduced below, explaining how many banana farmers in the Philippines are being pushed deeper into poverty by the companies who buy their bananas for export.    Bananas are among the most lucrative agricultural commodities in the Philippines. Yet many of the farmers who grow them are condemned to life- long poverty and hunger as a result of exploitative contracts with companies that export bananas. A survey conducted by Oxfam in 2017 revealed that in two of the...
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