Support banana workers' Farm Co-op in Cameroon!
Thank you to everyone who donated to our appeal earlier this year in support of the farm co-op established by members of our partner, the Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU), in Cameroon. We managed to raise a very impressive £1200 to help the Co-op buy equipment.
You can still support the Co-op this Christmas - donate see FAWU President, Wanji John
, explaining how their co-op is helping low paid plantation workers provide food for their families, and is providing chicken and pork for workers for Christmas and New Year. Or you can DONATE HERE
Make Fruit Fair!
75,000 people demand fair wages, health protection and trade union rights for plantation workers in Lidl supply chains
Over 75,000 people across Europe have signed in support of our Make Fruit Fair! campaign asking Lidl to improve conditions for tropical fruit workers in their supply chains. In response, two Lidl suppliers are starting to change the conditions on their plantations.
In Costa Rica, all workers at Finca Once, Lidl’s most important pineapple supplier, are now receiving the minimum wage and get paid their overtime. While at banana supplier Matías in Ecuador there have also been improvements, including more strict enforcement of the time period before workers can enter the fields following pesticide spraying and provision of personal protective equipment to all workers exposed to pesticides.
Although these developments are encouraging, problems, particularly the violation of trade union rights, remain to be addressed. As Jorge Acosta of the Ecuadorian trade union ASTAC says, As long as there is no freedom of organization, the exploitation of the workers is not going to stop”. Read more ........
Make Fruit Fair!
Rainforest Alliance and the discount supermarkets - low prices and easy standards?
Earlier this year discount supermarkets Aldi and Lidl announced their intention to source the majority of their tropical fruit from Rainforest Alliance (RA) certified suppliers. This move has thrown into focus the question of whether the claims of sustainability that come with the green frog logo can be met at the low prices which consumers have come to expect from these and other hard discounting supermarkets. In particular, the extent to which RA upholds labour rights or ensures that plantation workers earn anything close to a Living Wage.
Banana Link, as part of the Make Fruit Fair! Campaign recently published a report - Rainforest Alliance and the Discount Supermarkets: Low Prices and Easy Standards? – which looks at the standards and verification systems used by RA and at the realities of daily life on RA certified banana, pineapple and tea plantations. The report concludes, among other things, that RA standards in respect of recognition of trade union rights and compliance with minimum wage requirements, are not met on many RA certified banana and pineapple plantations in Latin America or tea plantations in Indonesia and Kenya. Read more ........
Showcasing best practice on plantations
Banana Link recently took a group of journalists from different European countries to showcase good practice on Fairtrade certified banana and pineapple plantations in Ghana. The purpose of the trip was to demonstrate to stakeholders, including consumers and retailers, what we are asking for through the Make Fruit Fair campaign.
Tropical fruit export production in Ghana provides examples of what can be achieved through the work of unions, companies, certifiers and consumers themselves. Most banana and pineapple production in Ghana is Fairtrade certified and the biggest banana exporting company, Golden Exotics, is developing organic production. Trade unions are free to organise and collectively bargain. Our latest field research shows the majority of workers believe they earn enough to cover their basic household costs.
A Banana Link education and empowerment programme on these plantations in recent years has increased awareness among workers of their rights and enhanced the skills of trade unions representatives, securing improvements in pay and working conditions. Read more:
Thank you for your donations to the SITRAP motorbike appeal
Didier Leitón, the General Secretary of SITRAP, our partner union in Costa Rica is very grateful for the donations to our appeal to fund a motorbike to help with their organising work at more than 40 plantations.
Didier has sent us this photo of himself with the new motorbike (left) and a thank you letter
to branches of the GMB union, and others, who donated to the fund.
Read more about our work with SITRAP and make a donation
Banana farmers representative visits UK
Banana Link was delighted recently to host Kozel Fraser, of our partner organisation the Windward Islands Farmers Association (WINFA), on a visit to the UK.
Traditionally key suppliers of bananas to the British market, small scale production in islands has only survived thanks to WINFA, Banana Link and other civil society partners calling on supermarkets to offer, and consumers, to choose Caribbean Fairtrade bananas.
But Windward farmers now face further challenges to their survival. Climate change has led to a greater incidence of tropical storms which have ravaged production, while the buying power of supermarkets continue to push prices down to an unsustainable level.
Listen to Kozel talking to BBC Radio Norfolk
about the challenges facing small scale banana growers in the Caribbean.
Fyffes melons at centre of labour abuse claims from Honduran workers
Plantation workers in Choluteca, Honduras, are saying they are threatened with dismissal and destitution because they have tried to form a union at their Irish-owned multinational company. The workers, 90% of whom are women, including many single mothers and the elderly, are now appealing to US and European consumers to boycott products sold by the fruit multinational Fyffes until it improves working conditions and allows collective bargaining.
The call for a consumer boycott of Fyffes has not been made by local unions or by Banana Link, but we are continuing to monitoring the situation, and will keep you informed should we call for action in support of the workers in Honduras. Read more ........
Historic agreement reached between unions and producers in Peru
On 15th August, a framework agreement on trade union rights and sectoral dialogue was signed by seven banana producers’ associations and the main trade union in the sector, SITAG. This comes after several years of conflict between some of the associations and the union, and is the result of a long process mediated by our long term partner COLSIBA, Fairtrade International, the Peruvian Fair Trade Producer Coordinating Body and Banana Link. Read more ........
20 Years of Banana Link
We're 20 years old!
Banana Link is 20 years old.
Over two decades we have made a significant contribution to making tropical fruit export production more ethical and sustainable.
Over the next few weeks we will be marking the occasion by highlighting what we think are our twenty most significant achievements over the past twenty years, on our website and on our facebook page..
Thank you very much to our newsletter subscribers who made a commitment of a monthly donation! Your support of our work makes a real difference! Donations by standing order, in any amount, provide us with a solid foundation of funding to continue our work. Together, we can make a tangible difference to the lives of banana and pineapple workers and small-scale farmers in Latin America, Africa and the Caribbean, as well as their families and communities!
You can set up up a regular standing order here.
With all good wishes for the holiday season and the new year,
The Banana Link team