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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Fair Trade Fortnight: Bananas

So it's Fairtrade Fortnight again, the time of the year to celebrate all things Fairtrade. First up is bananas. Only one NZ company (All Good Bananas imports fairtrade bananas so that makes it simpler, if a little one sided. Apparently NZ eats more bananas per capita than any other country in the world, which means our decisions about this humble fruit can have large impacts. All Good Bananas says this about the standard banana trade:
"The majority of banana plantation works don’t earn enough to live and support their families. Some earn less that $3 a day. However bananas have made big profits for banana companies and supermarkets. To keep prices low – and profit margins high – farmers and plantation workers at the bottom of the supply chain don’t get much in return. This pressure inevitably means lower wages, longer hours, and deteriorating working conditions for the growers. It’s difficult for them to voice their concerns, as they’re often prevented from forming trade unions to protect their rights and improve their situation."
This is a fairly common problem with most third world produced food, but bananas are by far the most common in NZ. And it doesn't cost that much more - usually you will pay around $2.99 for a bunch of bananas, All Good Fairtrade Bananas cost around $3.99. So what do you and the grower get for for the extra buck?
"Fairtrade provides a lifeline for these growers. This is done by an agreed stable price which covers the cost of sustainable production and enables workers to provide for their families. Cooperatives also receive a Fairtrade premium which producer organisations invest in community projects like healthcare and education facilities. Farmers decide themselves how to invest the premium they earn.There is no other ethical trade initiative that holistically addresses the problems faced by small-scale producers working at the far end of global supply chains, over which they have no influence, but in which decisions that are made affect their whole lives."
This is pretty much the standard idea when it comes to fairtrade. However All Good bananas are also free from dangerous sprays which are commonly used on regular bananas (Although they do occasionally get fumigated on import by MAF). And that is good for both the grower and you. More infomation on this at

So where can you get some?
Not all supermarkets and fruit & vegetable shops sell fairtrade bananas yet, although lots do. All Good Bananas have a cool banana finder map on there website: If you can't find any in a shop near you then ask them to get them! It does work, many stores have started stocking fairtrade bananas because people asked for them. They will be right next to the regular bananas and you can tell the difference because there will be a slight glow emanating from them because they are so good. Oh wait, I read too much All Good Bananas promotional material in researching this article! Actually they have All Good Bananas/Fairtrade tape around each bunch and usually a branded sign too.

enjoy your bananas!

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