The Fairtrade Foundation are coming after our bananas

24 February 2014

sad bananas If you're eating a banana right now, you're probably doing it without much thought. And why should you? It's a banana, not a blood diamond.

However, there's people who really care about bananas and they're called The Fairtrade Foundation. They've started a thing today called Fairtrade Fortnight, which is a campaign which asks supermarkets in the UK to start paying a fair price for their 'nanas.

This is to address the rates that are apparently forcing farmers into poverty in the developing world. This means more expensive bananas for you, inevitably.

The banana-specific campaign is called 'Britain’s Bruising Banana Wars' and has come about after the cost of a banana has nearly halved compared to a decade ago. Production costs for farmers in Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica and the like, have increased.

The Fairtrade Foundation’s chief executive Michael Gidney said: "Small farmers and plantation workers are the collateral damage in supermarket price wars. The poorest people are bearing the cost of our cheap bananas and they have to work harder and harder as what they earn is worth less and less in their communities."

"As a result, a product that is worth billions of pounds in global trade relies on poverty-level income for the people who grow it."

The campaign wants you, dear consumer, to put pressure on your local MP and retailer. That, of course, is never, ever going to happen in a million years. However, if you do feel guilty about banana farmers, you could do your bit by only buying Fairtrade bananas.

Or you could just shrug and carry on as you where and leave it to The Fairtrade Foundation to sort all that boring stuff out.

 

4 comments

  • Dick
    The problem is if they put prices of bananas up too much, then that will put people off buying them and they'll eat oranges instead. So those banana farmers will get nothing apart from a glut of bananas. They'll then need to sell them cheap to get rid of them.
  • Bill
    Dick, the prices are pretty similar. One third by value of the bananas trade in the UK is Fairtrade, so there's clearly not too much of a problem in this respect! You wouldn't gring your next-door neighbour into the dust to save a couple of pence on a banana, so why do it to some poor farmer in the Windward Islands?
  • Inspector G.
    The issue I have with Fairtrade is that its all a big con. Not quite a con as I'm very sure there are good intentions on all sides but a bit of a con. The actual cost price of the product - ie the price paid to the farmer - is but a fraction of the supermarket shelf price. So if the Fairtrade sticker means the farmer gets double then the cost to the consumer is only slightly higher. Since the consumer wont get a nice warm fuzzy feeling if they didn't pay any more the supermarkets put the prices up. Hence Fairtrade to the supermarket means "high margin" which is why the Co Op and Sainsburys are all over Fairtrade like herpes on a whore. In summary, the supermarket gets more of a bonus when you switch to FT than the farmer does. And as Dick has pointed out, the higher price distorts the market which causes more issues in the long run. If we want to do the right thing for struggling African farmers we should discourage "buying British" and the EU, US and Chinese governments should stop paying a subsidies to their own farmers which lowers prices and muscles African farmers out of the market.
  • Inspector G.
    The issue I have with Fairtrade is that its all a big con. Not quite an intentional con as I'm very sure there are good intentions on all sides but still a bit of a con. The actual cost price of the product - ie the price paid to the farmer - is but a fraction of the supermarket shelf price. So if the Fairtrade sticker means the farmer gets double then the cost to the consumer is only slightly higher. Since the consumer wont get a nice warm fuzzy feeling if they didn't pay any more the supermarkets put the prices up. Hence Fairtrade to the supermarket means "high margin" which is why the Co Op and Sainsburys are all over Fairtrade like herpes on a whore. In summary, the supermarket gets more of a bonus when you switch to FT than the farmer does. And as Dick has pointed out, the higher price distorts the market which causes more issues in the long run. If we want to do the right thing for struggling African farmers we should discourage "buying British" and the EU, US and Chinese governments should stop paying a subsidies to their own farmers which lowers prices and muscles African farmers out of the market.

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment