News archive

Banana Link identifies key drivers of change for women in agricultural value chains 07.02.2019
A recently concluded Banana Link project, undertaken in partnership with Women Working Worldwide, has identified key drivers of change for women in agricultural value chains.    The project - Gender Equity Across Supply Chains: A Comparative Analysis - gathered case studies of good practice on progress towards gender equity across banana, flower and tea sectors, from which lessons could be drawn and future action planned.    Among the many case studies (including seven in-depth studies and three video case studies) collected are initiatives to eradicate sexual harassment in the Florida tomato...
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Positive progress in dispute between Fyffes and Honduran plantation workers 21.01.2019
The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) has published a statement (reproduced below) on the latest developments in the dispute between Fyffes and Honduran plantation workers. It recognises that Fyffes is now in dialogue with the national union STAS (Union of Workers in Agroindustry and Allied Trades), and have signed an agreement officially recognising STAS as the legitimate representative of workers employed at the company's Honduran melon subsidiaries. Collective bargaining negotiations between Fyffes and STAS are now due begin on 5 February, while Fyffes has also agreed to rehire all the non-...
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Historic Collective Bargaining Agreement signed in Costa Rica 14.01.2019
SITRAP (Union of Agricultural Plantation Workers) which represents tropical fruit workers in Costa Rica, with a presence in over 40 banana and pineapple plantations, last week signed an historic Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with Bandeco, the wholly owned subisidiary of the transnational fruit company Fresh Del Monte, at its Duacari 4 plantation near Guápiles, Costa Rica.   This is the first new CBA signed between an independent trade union and a multinational fruit brand since the industry and powerful allies launched an onslaught that nearly wiped the unions off the map 35 years ago...
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Fyffes Must Bargain with Independent Union in Honduras 17.12.2018
Following the publication of an open letter recounting a pattern of labor rights violations on melon farms in Honduras, Fair Trade USA has decertified the grower Suragroh, a subsidiary of Fyffes. The Irish company Fyffes is one of the largest global fruit brands and the top importer of winter-season melons to the U.S. market. Fyffes is owned by the Japanese conglomerate Sumitomo.   Honduran agricultural unions, the Fair World Project, and the International Labor Rights Forum call on Fyffes to negotiate with STAS – El Sindicato de Trabajadores de la Agroindustria y Similares. STAS is an...
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Fair Trade USA suspends certification of Fyffes’ melon plantation in Honduras 07.12.2018
Ethical standards body, Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), has this week suspended the certification of the Fyffes owned Suragroh melon plantation in Honduras, in response to evidence of labour rights violations. The suspension followed an open letter to FTUSA from twenty five human rights and labour organisations from North America, Europe and Asia, including Banana Link, calling into question their certification of Suragroh. For more than a decade, workers at Suragroh have reported to the trade union STAS-FESTAGRO that Fyffes has failed to pay minimum wages or any statutorily mandated benefits such as...
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Aldi price cuts threaten banana workers’ livelihoods - TAKE ACTION 28.11.2018
The recent announcement by Aldi that it plans to cut the price it pays for its bananas, threatens the sustainability and livelihoods of small-scale famers and plantation workers.     Average retail prices for bananas have fallen by more than 50 % in real terms over the past 15 years, as a result of supermarket price wars, exacerbating poor incomes for the people who grow the UK’s most consumed fruit. This “race to the bottom” has also amplified significant social and environmental impacts in most banana producing countries, including the denial of basic human rights, notably the freedom to...
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Fair Trade USA Certifies Labour Violations as “Fair Trade” in Honduras 28.11.2018
A coalition of unions, farmworkers, fair trade advocates, ethical businesses and retailers (including Banana Link) is confronting Fair Trade USA (FTUSA), a US-based fair trade certification agency, for ignoring human rights abuses and its own standards in certifying a Honduran melon grower with a long history of violations. In an open letter sponsored by the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF) published through Fair World Project (FWP), the coalition is calling on FTUSA to adhere to its own standards and take immediate action to decertify Suragroh, a fully-owned subsidiary of...
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Aldi facing mounting pressure from LatAm banana supply countries over price cut plans 31.10.2018
Germany-headquartered discount retail chain Aldi is facing widespread condemnation from Latin American banana-producing countries over its plans to lower pricing by around a dollar in 2019.   Industry associations from Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Guatemala have all expressed anger, saying the move could cause serious issues.   Earlier this month the Ecuadorian banana industry wrote a letter signed by 31 organizations slamming the retailer’s plans, following which Costa Rican’s Corbana, Colombia’s Augura and Guatemala’s APIB also made their complaints heard.    They say that further...
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Sustainability certification initiatives need to be more effective 23.10.2018
New research just published by the Dutch Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO) reveals a pattern of recurring labour right violations on farms certified by almost all the well-known sustainability certification initiatives, such as Fairtrade and Rainforest Alliance.    For their report - Looking good on paper: Review of recent research on the impact of sustainability certication on working conditions on large farms - SOMO reviewed published evidence about the effectiveness of sustainability certification initiatives on labour conditions at large-scale farms in low- and...
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Bananas and coffee: worlds apart ? 15.10.2018
At first glance, the world banana and coffee markets appear very different. Both are amongst the two most traded agricultural commodities in the global economy, but the coffee market has grown massively in recent decades, whilst the banana market has only seen very limited growth. Coffee companies have been able to create a huge leap in the total value in the chain, whilst banana remains a sector struggling to create new value.   Thanks to the huge value created by new formats, particularly in the form of coffee pods, the world coffee market has grown to be worth around 200 billion dollars...
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