News archive

Windward Island bananas back in the shops! 21.07.2011
Following the devastation of banana production in the Windward Islands last October by Hurricane Tomas, trade resumed on June 19. 1,915 cartons of bananas supplied by 73 elated Fairtrade farmers, of the 509 registered, were shipped from St. Vincent to the UK. Sainsburys, Waitrose and Asda are all once again stocking bananas from the Windwards. With 1.7 million plants destroyed on the ground, livelihoods lost, no income for the foreseeable future, Hurricane Tomas was a fate to test the resolve of even the most resolute and it took a great deal of resilience, support and encouragement...
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Farmers criticise exporting company 21.07.2011
21 july 2011, Kingstown, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA) expresses its alarm at the difficulties being faced by Fairtrade banana farmers in the Windward Islands in the export of their bananas to the United Kingdom through the sole marketing agent, WINFRESH (formerly WIBDECO). "These farmers, whose production had been wiped out by the devastation of hurricane Tomas in October last year, following a debilitating drought earlier that year, resulting in a loss of income for eight months, have made huge sacrifices, with the support of the...
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Côte d’Ivoire: ITUC calls for immediate release of Basile Mahan Gahé 11.07.2011
11 July 2011, Brussels. Basile Mahan Gahé, general secretary of Dignité trade union confederation, was transferred on Saturday morning from the capital, Abidjan, to a town in the north of the country. The ITUC has reiterated its grave concern for his welfare and has called for his immediate release.  In May 2011, the trade union leader, who had received death threats, was abducted from his home by armed men. (See previous ITUC OnLine). He was identified after being held for several days in solitary confinement in a police station in Abidjan. The ITUC has repeatedly called for the trade...
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Caribbean civil society honours Renwick Rose, WINFA Coordinator 05.07.2011
5 July 2011 Veteran Vincentian social activist and journalist, Renwick Rose, has been honoured by his colleagues in the civil society movement in the Caribbean. Rose was honoured at a special ceremony during activities held to mark the 20th Anniversary of the Caribbean (NGO) Policy Development Centre at the Pegasus Hotel in Guyana last week. As Coordinator of WINFA, the Windward Islands Farmers Association, Renwick has played a key role in efforts to defend the interests of small banana farmers, including the almost total conversion of banana production to Fairtrade in the islands....
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French Caribbean producers cut pesticide us 05.07.2011
5 July 2011 Banana growers in the French Caribbean have reached their objective to reduce pesticide use by 50% two years before the 2013 deadline. The Guadeloupe and Martinique Banana Producers' company, UGPBAN, said that this reduction is due to the widespread adoption of good agricultural practices such as crop rotation and monitoring tissue culture plants to control nematodes, mass trapping for weevils, sigatoka etc. UGPBAN says a comparison between a number of banana producing countries show big differences in the use of pesticides. It says European producers use significantly less...
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Dominican Republic: workers on organic farms get UN support 29.06.2011
29 June 2011, Azua A programme involving the Food & Agriculture Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and other UN agencies is working with small-scale organic farmers' organisations to support workers' children in the Dominican Republic's Azua region. Although the programme is focused on improving the value chain to benefit farmers, part of it is also funding community development. This week two homework help centres were opened to benefit the children of workers employed in the small banana farms in the area. Labour Minister Max Puig and ILO representative Dabeyda...
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Costa Rica launches 'Responsible Pineapple' initiative 29.06.2011
29 June 2011, San JoséIn the wake of continuing criticism of the environmental and social impacts of Costa Rica's pineapple boom, the Vice-Presidency and several government ministries have launched a National Platform for Responsible Pineapple Production and Trade. It has the support of the United Nations Development Programme's Green Commodities Facility and Dutch Inter-Church Development Agency ICCO.Growers and exporters, a global retailer, certifying bodies and trade union representatives were present at the launch in San José on Monday. The initial focus is on the environmental...
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Peru: producers made aware of climate change threat 23.06.2011
23 June 2011, Sullana The first Latin American and Caribbean Congress on Bananas and Plantains in Sullana, Peru, focused on the contribution that researchers could make to mitigating the effects of climate change on banana and plantain production. Hosted by the Piura provincial government and small producers' associations and organised by MUSALAC (a continent-wide research network), Bioversity International and the Peruvian Institute for Agrarian Innovation, congress delegates from 20 countries were told that changing disease patterns and water management were two of the key issues....
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Anti-union sackings and toxic chemical use at Costa Rican pineapple farm 22.06.2011
22  June 2011, Los Chiles/San José Twenty five workers were dismissed as soon as they joined the trade union ANEP at two pineapple farms near Los Chiles in Northern Costa Rica this month. Despite the threats to them and their families if they spoke out, one of the workers gave a press conference today to denounce the situation at Bana Internacional Arero and Natura Farms LWO, two plantations belonging to the same owner. Workers had called on the union to help resolve a range of problems of non-compliance with labour legislation. Many are hired by labour contractors who do not register...
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Ecuador: government brings in environmental licensing 21.06.2011
The Ecuadorian government has announced that all banana producers will now be required to obtain an environmental licence. The measure is designed to improve agricultural practices from aerial spraying to waste water management. Each farm over 20 hectares is now required to develop a specific environmental plan that is approved by the Environment Ministry. Producers with less than 20 hectares will also have to fill in a form indicating their current practices. Environment Minister Marcela Aguiñaga announced an industry-wide campaign to promote these new Environmental Management Plans...
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