News archive

Only few places where organic bananas can be grown 28.06.2016
Unlike conventional bananas, which are relatively easy to grow in many tropical areas, organic bananas must be cultivated in very specific conditions, and this is only possible in a few regions. Colima, Mexico, is one of those regions with the right microclimate, and Tropical Organic Growers is a company devoted to the cultivation and export of organic tropical fruits, especially bananas.   Organic bananas "Bananas need plenty of water, about 3,000 mm of water per year, which they can easily get in the tropics. However, if you want to grow organic bananas, it is impossible to do it in such...
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Phasing out Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs) in Costa Rica 09.06.2016
The small Central American country of Costa Rica has one of the highest intensities of pesticide use in the world, despite its renown for being a peaceful, ecofriendly tourist destination, rich in biodiversity. Pesticide imports have risen steeply during the past three decades, many of the pesticides used being highly hazardous in terms of acute toxicity, chronic health effects and/or environmental contamination. The fungicide mancozeb, for example, forms the highest volume of pesticide imports and is used intensively in banana and pineapple cultivation, sometimes via aerial spraying.   A new...
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Oxfam report takes aim at Ecuadorian and Costa Rican tropical fruit industries 09.06.2016
Banana Link partner in our Make Fruit Fair! campaign, Oxfam Germany, has published a report Sweet Fruit, Bitter Truth (In German) allegeding inhumane conditions exist on many Costa Rican pineapple farms and Ecuadorian banana operations, pointing the final blame at Germany’s leading retailers. The report has prompted conflicting stories between Oxfam’s German arm and certifier the Rainforest Alliance, according to the report below, reproduced from www.freshfruitportal.com. In the report, the NGO alleges underpayment, dangerous pesticide exposure and inhumane living conditions across a range of...
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Take action! Ask LIDL to play fair! 31.05.2016
Lidl is one out of nine supermarket giants in the UK. But when it comes to responsibility on banana and pineapple plantations, Lidl has to play fair.   The truth about tropical fruits from LIDL   Lidl claims all the bananas and pineapples that they sell are sustainably produced. But the reality for farmers and workers looks very different: Plantation workers and their families are exposed to toxic pesticides. They suffer from respiratory symptoms, sickness and dizziness. The low income of small-scale farmers and low wages of plantation workers mean their families often can’t cover basic...
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Take Action: Tell the European Commission to ban glyphosate and protect tropical fruit workers 13.05.2016
Next week the European Commission will vote on whether to re-authorise the toxic herbicide glyphosate, the world's most widely-used herbicide. This comes against mounting scientific evidence is pointing to the toxicity of glyphosate to the environment and to humans, including links to non-Hodgkin's lymphoma among others. This risk increases with occupational sun exposure which is common for workers in tropical and sub-tropical climates. While in March last year, the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) issued a report which classified glyphosate as '...
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Aldi commits to sustainable sourcing of bananas 04.05.2016
Aldi has become the latest UK supermarket to commit to sustainable banana sourcing and will make the switch by the end of the year.   The discounter’s pledge follows a move to 100% sustainable bananas by Asda in March, while Lidl announced in February it would make a similar commitment by the end of the year.   It means Aldi will source some 93% of its bananas from Rainforest Alliance-accredited farms, with the remainder sourced from Fairtrade Foundation farms.   Aldi previously sourced around 15% of its bananas from either RFA or Fairtrade farms, and was placed bottom in a ranking of the...
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The banana industry in Laos: dangerous working conditions and environmental destruction 20.04.2016
For the people in the tiny Lao villages that dot the mountains in the country’s north-western border, the banana looked like a saviour. As demand for bananas in neighbouring China reached new heights, Chinese investors began crossing the border to invest in banana plantations in Laos’ impoverished Northern provinces. From 2002, when Laos produced less than 90,000 tonnes of bananas, production increased to more than 400,000 tonnes by 2013. For a time, the deal was favourable for everyone involved. Local Laotian landowners received large amounts of cash in exchange for renting out their land,...
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Abuses including dismissals in agro-export company TALSA 19.04.2016
Amalia Antúnez In Montevideo, Perú UNIONS AGRICULTURE With Juan Herrera “The harassment is never ending” Peruvian anti-union blueberries   The agro-industrial company TALSA is located in the north of Peru in the La Libertad region and specialises in blueberry and asparagus production, among other products. On the 8 March, it arbitrarily dismissed all of the SITETSA trade union's Executive Committee. La Rel spoke with Juan Herrera Huanca (pictured), president of FENTRAIR federation (Federación Nacional de Trabajadores del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego and Similares) which represents the...
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International Women's Day: Reflections from Colombia 12.04.2016
Colombia TRADE UNIONS FOR WOMEN  International Women’s Day With Adela Torres "Let’s make the 8th of March a day of demands". Respect, justice and equity. Last Sunday, March 6th, the National Union of Workers in Agricultural Industries (Sintrainagro) held a mass meeting of women in the municipality of Apartadó, as part of the celebration of International Women’s Day. La Rel talked to Adela Torres, national General Secretary of the Union.   -What is your verdict on last Sunday’s meeting?  It was a very good meeting, with a great gathering of women who packed the local union hall.  It was very...
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Peruvian agro-export company TALSA dismisses whole union committee – act now! 05.04.2016
All nine members of the executive committee of the SITETSA (Sindicato De Trabajadores Empresa Talsa) union were sacked in February this year by their employers, the agribusiness company TALSA in Peru. Two former union members were also dismissed.   TALSA denies the legal existence, not only of the union committee, but also of the FENTRAIR federation (Federacion Nacional De Trabajadores Del Sector Agrario, Industria, Riego y Similares Del Peru) to which SITETSA belongs.   These dismissals occurred at the time when negotiations should have begun to renew the Collective Bargaining Agreement...
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