Could it be that, as we approach the end of seven thousand years of the now-famous Mayan calendar, a new age of dialogue and good industrial relations could be under construction in an industry and a country plagued by decades of conflict and violence?
The Guatemalan banana industry, born in the early years of the 20th century to supply the markets of the cities of the South and East Coast of the United States, entered the 21st century in a phase of rapid expansion. Since 2007, the country has overtaken Central and South American exporters to become the USA's single largest source of bananas.
Every third banana consumed in the US is Guatemalan. Today, more than three quarters of fruit exported are from the Pacific South of the country, the remainder from the Caribbean coastal plain of Izabál. The rich volcanic soils that stretch from Escuintla and Westward towards the Mexican border are currently some of the most productive banana lands in the world.
Alistair Smith, Banana Link’s International Coordinator, analyses the potential to establish real social dialogue in an industry dogged by its past and by deep-rooted prejudices, looking at the historical context in order to understand better why such a dialogue is so important and opportune.