Dear Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP
Cheap bananas are threatening farmers' futures.
In the last 10 years, a bitter price war has seen the UK supermarket sector almost halve the price of loose bananas while the cost of producing them has doubled. This is trapping many of the farmers and workers who grow them in poverty.
This cannot continue. We call on you as Secretary of State for Business to urgently investigate the grave impact of unsustainable supermarket pricing practices and act to protect the millions of poor farmers and workers who grow the UK’s favourite fruit.
Albeiro Alfonso 'Foncho' Cantillo
Colombian banana farmer
Foncho is a banana farmer from Cienaga, Colombia. He’s part of a Fairtrade certified co-operative called Coobafrio.
In many ways he’s just like you. He works hard, he loves spending time with his family and has a passion for football.
Before Foncho’s co-operative was certified as Fairtrade, Foncho often struggled to make ends meet – it was a hard life.
Now Foncho receives a fair price for his bananas, which means he can afford to care for his loved ones and send his daughter to college.
Foncho wants to help all banana farmers and workers like him to get a fair deal for their produce, so he’s coming to the UK to ask us to lend our support this Fairtrade Fortnight.
A whopping 70,000 people stuck with him and signed our petition, which we handed in to the Department of Business on Tuesday 13 May, watch the video below to find out what happened, or find all the latest campaign news here.
Our campaign aims to transform the banana industry. We want to make bananas fair.
This means that every banana farmer and worker should:
It also means bananas are produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable too.
Fairtrade alone is not enough to end the price wars. We have to go further to ensure the price we pay for our bananas is sustainable for farmers and workers.
In the UK, we eat over 5 billion bananas a year; that’s 13 million each day.
80% of the bananas bought in the UK are bought in supermarkets, most of whom are battling each other to keep their customers in a highly-competitive and public price war.
Bananas are now sold so cheaply by most UK supermarkets that many farmers and workers who produce them are being trapped in a cycle of poverty – with many still unable to afford to put enough food on the table for their families, or provide the basics such as education or healthcare.
Fairtrade provides a vital safety net for banana farmers and workers.
We ensure that farmers receive a minimum price for their produce, to cover the costs of sustainable production and an additional premium, which they choose to either invest in community projects like schools and hospitals, or in their business.
Despite this, too many banana farmers and producers still suffer. This cannot continue.