News archive

Threat posed by Panama disease 14.04.2014
Panama disease is threatening banana production in Africa and Latin America. The disease, originally from Asia, known as 'TR4' (tropical race 4) has been found in Mozambique and Jordan. In response to the threat posed by TR4 to millions of producers and workers in the banana industry, the World Banana Forum has set up a Task Force.  The Task Force has set out an action plan to combat the disease, which includes awareness campaigns, training programmes, introducing management practices, and the development of new crops resistant to TR4. TR4 was found in Asia in the 1990s. This strain affects...
Read more
Camposol workers strike again 19.03.2014
Peru’s biggest agro-export company, Camposol, once again finds itself in the frontline of worker protests, this time at their main production site near Trujillo in Northern Peru. Workers affiliated to the SITECASA union have a list of commitments made by the company, including in the collective agreement, that have not been met. They accuse the company of talking the rhetoric of responsibility, but not practising it. When police were called to deal with the stoppage late last week, reported to have been supported by thousands of Camposol workers, the peaceful protest turned sour and injuries...
Read more
Chiquita takes the reins to resolve Honduran conflict 12.03.2014
Chiquita has bought a group of three Honduran plantations, formerly known as Tres Hermanas, following more than a year of conflict involving the former owner of the Honduran banana company and independent workers’ union SITRAINBA. Until now Chiquita branded and marketed the bananas produced by the Tres Hermanas group, but it now owns the company, having sacked the previous management and rehired the workforce. After several months of uncertainty, in December, Rainforest Alliance suspended its certification of the plantations. Previously workers who joined the independent SITRAINBA trade union...
Read more
New banana giant 10.03.2014
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...
Read more
Making banana prices fair 24.02.2014
Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 marks the launch of Make Bananas Fair! a unique opportunity to transform the banana industry and ensure that farmers and workers at the sharp end of the supply chain, get a fair deal. Banana Link welcomes the campaign  which will ask Vince Cable, as Secretary of State for Business, to urgently investigate the impact of unsustainable supermarket pricing. In 2000 the first Fairtrade banana appeared in British supermarkets. Two years later Asda/Walmart began the bitter banana price wars that continue to this day.   'The impacts of 'the Race to the Bottom' in the...
Read more
Battle for Banana Livelihoods 10.02.2014
In an industry that has always been dominated by labor-intensive, large-scale production, the struggle for small-scale producers to stay in the market has always seemed like David and Goliath. The farmers of the three Windward Islands in the Caribbean have all the comparative disadvantages in the textbook, but, thanks to their strategy to market their bananas as Fairtrade, several thousand have managed to sustain livelihoods against almost all the odds.   But the arrival of Black Sigatoka fungal disease and repeated climatic disasters risk putting them out of business for good. Yet another...
Read more
Surinamese workers encouraged by banana company privatisation 29.01.2014
Last week, the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Suriname and UNIVEG announced the completion of the privatisation process of former state-owned Surinam banana company, SBBS (“Stichting Behoud Bananen Sector”). The Belgian fruit company Univeg, which has been marketing most of the production from the country's two large plantations for several years, is to own 90% of SBBS. The remaining 10% of shares will remain in the hands of the government. Leader of trade union Bacoven Arbeiders Bond Nickerie, Dayanand Dwarka, told Banana Link, that workers were optimistic for the future of the...
Read more
Make Bananas Fair! this Fairtrade Fortnight 27.01.2014
Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 marks the launch of Make Bananas Fair! a unique campaign aiming to transform the banana industry to ensure that banana farmers and workers, those at the sharp end of the supply chain, get a fair deal.Fairtrade bananas appeared on British supermarket shelves 13 years ago and now a massive one in three bananas sold in the UK are Fairtrade certified. Yet despite this achievement there remains a serious problem at the heart of the banana business. According to the Fairtrade Foundation, 'as global exports have grown, many banana farmers and workers have seen their earnings...
Read more
New Hired Labour Standard for Fairtrade 27.01.2014
Fairtrade International has published a new Hired Labour Standard. This follows a long process of consultation – including 18 workshops in 14 countries with workers – and significant engagement with trade unions and labour rights organisations, with guidance and support from the Fairtrade’s Workers’ Rights Advisory Committee. "Banana Link welcomes the inclusion of a Freedom of Association Protocol and a Right to Organise Guarantee, among other new elements, that strengthen Fairtrade’s standards for hired labour. Banana Link and our partners are pleased to have played a role in this process...
Read more
The Year is Drawing to a Close 27.01.2014
For agricultural workers in Peru, the year ended with many significant labour, social and economic problems unresolved and continued discrimination, in many forms.FENTAGRO, the National Federation of Agricultural Workers in Peru, believe that it is difficult for their members to wish each other “Happy New Year”. ‘The efforts we have made to achieve better living conditions remain but a hope, because each day our way of life requires greater effort and sacrifice and years of work weigh on our shoulders. Today we find ourselves facing health problems and abandoned by a State that is only...
Read more

Pages