News archive

An uncertain future for banana workers in Belize as Fyffes pulls out from Mayan King 08.12.2015
Mayan King, the largest banana producer in Belize, abruptly ceased operations in October when the Irish fruit company Fyffes stopped importing Mayan King bananas due to fear of economic sanctions from the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC). In 2012, OFAC designated Mayan King owner John Zabaneh a Drug Kingpin under the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) for his alleged connections to Mexican fugitive drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman and associated Colombian drug cartels.   Despite the installation of a managerial company, Meridian...
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The human cost of cheap bananas - the impact of unfair trading practices 12.11.2015
A new report for the Make Fruit Fair! campaign shows how increasing market power and Unfair Trading Practices of European supermarkets affect banana small farmers and plantation workers. Banana workers and small farmers in developing countries are exposed to toxic agro-chemicals, earn poverty level wages and work in a climate of fear, reveals the report “Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices - October 2015” published today by Banana Link and the Fair Trade Advocacy Office FTAO. The report also shows how European supermarkets contribute to this...
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ANEXCO harasses and fires union members - update on our Urgent Action 05.11.2015
Thank you for supporting our recent urgent action appeal in support of union members at Costa Rican pineapple producer ANEXCO. More than 23​,000 emails have been sent to the company, calling on them to end harrassment of union members and to engage in constructive dialogue with the union SINTRAPEM (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores/as del Sector Privado Empresarial). This massive effort, plus several articles in the trade press and an intervention by the UK’s Ethical Trade Initiative combined to convince Fyffes of the need to try and resolve the issues we raised.   Initially, three union...
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General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers' Union, Guatemala visits UK 04.11.2015
Noé Ramirez Portela, General Secretary of the Izabal Banana Workers’ Union of Guatemala (SITRABI) is visiting the UK in November and will be speaking at the Latin America 2015 Conference in London on 28 November. Noé's visit is being co-ordinated by Banana Link SITRABI is the oldest private sector union in Guatemala and represents over 4000 members in Del Monte and in Del Monte supplier farms on the Caribbean coast, and has good relations with other local unions in other multinational and national plantations. Noé was elected General Secretary of SITRABI in 2000, shortly after the union’s...
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Ecuador government supports small farmer marketing efforts 15.10.2015
Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture has established a marketing arm for small farmer produced bananas which now exports 70 000 boxes of fruit per week. Growers are paid the official minimum price and receive payments much more quickly than with most conventional exporters. The government’s Banana Trade Unit is also purchasing bananas from small farmers in El Oro province to supply the national procurement programme ProAlimentos that provides fresh fruit for schools and other public institutions. This programme is organised by Banavid, a coordinating body of small farmers’ organisations that...
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ANEXCO harasses and fires union members - ACT NOW! 23.09.2015
The Ananas Export Company (ANEXCO) of Costa Rica produces pineapples for export to Europe. According to trade union SINTRAPEM (Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores/as del Sector Privado Empresarial) its members suffer anti-union harassment, persecution, unfair labour practices and discrimination. This despite an agreement brokered by the Ministry of Labour between SINTRAPEM, the banana workers unions’ coordination body COSIBACR and ANEXCO, in March this year, which committed the union and the company to open a space for dialogue. SINTRAPEM and COSIBACR are now calling for international...
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Banana exports to prove a blessing for Haiti 21.09.2015
The caribbean country of Haiti has just exported its first bananas in 60 years, bound for Europe, under a contract worth a reported €93m a year over the next 3 years.    Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic to its east, a country that ships up to 350K MT of mostly premium organic fruit per year. But despite sharing the majority of the climatic, soil, logistics and trade characteristics and advantages of the Dominican Republic, it is only now that new company Agritrans is attempting to establish a banana business in Haiti.    Agritrans plans to produce up to 450...
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Global Fairtrade banana sales on the rise 21.09.2015
The volume of Fairtrade bananas sold worldwide during 2014 increased by 18 per cent compared with the previous year to  439,474 tonnes, with 43 per cent of that figure produced organically, according to a new report published by Fairtrade International   Although UK sales are more or less static because of the supermarket price wars on loose bananas, continental European demand for Fairtrade has gone up very significantly in countries like Germany, Sweden and France. Fairtrade is now approaching 3% of the world market for dessert bananas.   The influence of its model of minimum prices...
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Dominican farmers urgently need your support following devastation to crops in tropical storm Erika 16.09.2015
Tropical storm Erika has left a trail of destruction across the Caribbean island of Dominica, causing loss of life, severe damage to the island’s infrastructure and untold losses to crops and livestock. The Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA) is appealing for donations to its disaster relief fund to support the recovery on Dominica.    You can make a donation to the fund here    The storm, which hit Dominica at the end of August has left at least 20 people dead, 31 missing, destroyed 371 houses, and caused an estimated $612.7 million damage to the island’s infrastructure, with...
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Erika “devastates” Dominica’s banana crop 04.09.2015
Tropical storm Erika has ravaged banana plantations in the small Caribbean island of Dominica, leaving approximately 80% of the fruit devastated in its wake.   Crisis meetings are continuing following several days of mudslides, landslides and flash flooding caused by the tropical storm that swept across during the latter part of last week.   Speaking to the president of the Caribbean Agricultural Network (CAN), Gabriel Christian, www.freshfruitportal.com has learned the island’s main export crop, bananas, have been severely affected by the ‘monumental’ tropical storm.   Dominica – not to be...
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