This 50th edition of Banana Link's Banana Trade News Bulletin comprises two special features. The first, reviews the ongoing work of the World Banana Forum and the second looks at the situation of Haitian migrant banana workers in the Dominican Republic.
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By Alistair Smith

This 50th edition of Banana Link's Banana Trade News Bulletin comprises two special features. The first, World Banana Forum gets down to business, reviews the ongoing work of the three permanent Working Groups, as presented at the second global conference of the Forum in Ecuador in February. The second feature highlights the situation for Haitian migrant workers who form the great majority of those employed in the Dominican Republic, the largest banana exporter of the ACP group of countries. Read more

World Banana Forum: getting down to business

Some 200 people took part in the second global conference of the World Banana Forum in Guayaquil, Ecuador, at the end of February.  International fruit companies, producers, small farmers' organisations, trade unions, retailers, NGOs and others met around an agenda for change in the industry. Alistair Smith reviews the advances made and highlights the current work in progress. Read more

Working Group 01: Sustainable Banana Production and Trade
Report from Working Group 01 includes a draft definition of sustainable banana production, report of virtual library launch, analysis of carbon foot-printing and pesticide reduction, and asks the question: is it now time to call for an end to mono-cropping? Read more

Working Group 02: Distribution of Value 
New information published on actual wages, drawing on recent studies undertaken in Ecuador and Colombia and data gathered by Colombian banana producers' association AUGURA. Read more

Working Group 03: Labour Rights
Update on the Forum's work on freedom of association and collective bargaining, discrimination in the workplace and in employment policies, and occupational health and safety. Read more

Chiquita’s steps towards gender equality
Chiquita gives update at WBF on activities of Women's Committee. Read more

Consumers are a key stakeholder
Consumer's International WBF delegate affirms the value of taking part in multi-stakeholder initiatives. Read more

Mobilising all stakeholders
The key to further success will be the commitment of those already at the table and our ability to mobilise others whose contribution is vital to the Forum's agenda for change. Read more

Haitian migrant banana workers in the Dominican Republic

For many years almost nobody either inside or outside the country seemed to want to address the issues facing Haitian migrants who form the great majority of those employed in the country's burgeoning banana industry. Most workers are illegal and live in precarious conditions. At last however, the situation could be set to change.

A short history of migration
The presence of a significant population of Haitian migrant workers in the Dominican Republic's agricultural sector dates back to the 1920s and 30s when low sugar prices... Read more

The Dominican Republic banana Industry
In 2011, over 2,000 growers with about 20,000 hectares of banana planted produced 320,000 tonnes for export with some 30,000 people estimated to be directly employed... Read more

Contracts, wages and working conditions
Employer-worker labour relations are characteristically informal, based on verbal contracts. Workers reported to Banana Link in April 2012.... Read more

The heart of the problem
The issue of the Haitian migrant workers and their legal status is complex and is a highly politicised question in Dominican politics... Read more

Momentum for change
It is now clear that Haitian migrant workers will remain in a precarious situation as long as their rights – especially their legal status – are not protected by national law... Read more

Towards decent work in the DR industry
The International Labour Organisation in collaboration with six other UN agencies, the Labour Ministry, the National Competitiveness Council and the Dominican banana industry launched its Strategic Plan for the Promotion of Decent Work and Competitiveness... Read more

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