The news that Chiquita and Fyffes are to merge is doubtless a reflection of the way the banana market has been going for the last 15-20 years. Two big fruit companies have felt the downward pressure of the big retail buyers on their margins and consolidation appears to them to be a strategy for survival. Historically, the two companies were linked, but since the 1980s they have been competitors. The need for consolidation in the face of huge retail buyer power would appear to be the main driver in this merger.
Banana Link's International Coordinator, Alistair Smith, highlighted concern about the impact that the merger could have upon some of the most vulnerable in the industry, 'Small farmers are under pressure from all sides and big mergers like this can only make them more nervous about the future of their livelihoods. However big players tend to believe that small ones are inefficient. We are keen that Fyffes continue their commitment to Fairtrade and to the Windwards and thus ensure that small farmers are not forgotten by this new giant.'
It is hoped that the companies will reinforce their corporate responsibility programmes and take a very active role in the industry’s multi-stakeholder in the World Banana Forum debates around how to achieve a genuinely sustainable banana economy. Banana Link looks forward to their vital contribution as the new number one banana company worldwide.
Read the report on BBC about this new billion dollar company.