Friday, December 19, 2014   

British banana lust drives growers into poverty
(02-26 10:36)

When a banana flown half-way round the world costs half the price of an apple grown in Britain, many wonder whether Latin American banana producers are getting a fair deal.
The British love eating bananas. Each Briton eats 100 bananas a year. Most are from Latin America: 28 percent from Colombia; 24 percent from the Dominican Republic; 16 percent from Ecuador and the remaining 32 percent from other countries, AFP reports.
The government began a national banana day in 1946, in which each child received a ration of one banana when imports resumed again.
Britain's Fairtrade Foundation charity, began a campaign in London this week to declare a truce in the price battle that ends up with growers, mostly in Latin America, selling their bananas at below the cost of production.
Britain is the only country among the bigger European states where bananas are now cheaper than they were a decade ago. In Germany, France and Italy, prices have risen.
A banana that cost 18 pence (30 US cents) in Britain in 2002 now costs 11 pence – about half the price of a locally-grown apple, according to the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development.
Fairtrade Foundation 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 as what they earn is worth less and less in their communities,'' he told a London press conference.
“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.''
Alfonso Cantillo, a Colombian banana producer from the north coast Magdalena area who sells to Britain, was invited to London by Fairtrade to highlight the issue.
He said he receives US$8.15 per 18-kilogram box. His production cost is US$9.
“We get no real benefit for what we invest. It's very frustrating,'' Cantillo said.
“When banana prices fall, we suffer from the impact. Our living conditions go down. We need price stability.''
Not even the supermarkets are making money on bananas. Fairtrade said retailer representatives estimate the big chains may be losing money as a result of banana price competition.
Fairtrade has focused on bananas rather than other produce because “what has happened on the price of bananas is quite extraordinary,’’ said Barbara Crowther, director of policy and public affairs.
   
Other Business breaking news:
BOC Aviation adds two more Boeing jets to earlier order spree (1 hr 11 mins ago)
Nikkei finishes higher (1 hr 32 mins ago)
Hang Seng jumps at noon (2 hrs 55 mins ago)
BoJ strikes more upbeat view on economy, holds off fresh measures (12-19 12:16)
China total GDP revised up 3.4% in 2013: govt (12-19 11:26)
Nikkei up by break (12-19 11:17)
UK retail sales surge thanks to 'Black Friday' (12-18 18:31)
Cautious Japanese firms holding record assets: BoJ (12-18 17:24)
German business confidence grows in December (12-18 17:23)
Swiss central bank introduces negative interest rate (12-18 17:03)

More breaking news >>

© 2014 The Standard, The Standard Newspapers Publishing Ltd.
Contact Us | About Us | Newsfeeds | Subscriptions | Print Ad. | Online Ad. | Street Pts

 


Home | Top News | Local | Business | China | ViewPoint | CityTalk | World | Sports | People | Central Station | Spree | Features

The Standard

Trademark and Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014, The Standard Newspaper Publishing Ltd., and its related entities. All rights reserved.  Use in whole or part of this site's content is prohibited.   Use of this Web site assumes acceptance of the
Terms of Use, Privacy Policy Statement and Copyright Policy.  Please also read our Ethics Statement.