The Future is Equal

10 tonnes of bananas an hour – but is it fair?

Kiwis are the biggest banana consumers per capita in the world. We eat 90,000 tonnes per year. That’s over 10 tonnes an hour! However – only 7% of bananas consumed in the country are Fairtrade.

Irene, from Zambia, South Africa, is a co-producer on a banana farm. The income she earns means she can have clean water and ample food, send her children to school and save to build a house. Photo: Abbie Trayler-Smith.

Bananas are our favourite fruit, but new research brings forward the unsustainability of our banana supply. Major supermarkets and banana retailers must do more to support banana farmers.

‘The Big Squeeze’ report was released yesterday by the Bureau for the Appraisal of Societal Impacts and Costs (Basic) and commissioned by Fairtrade New Zealand.

According to the Fairtrade New Zealand website, the report says that “New Zealand’s banana market is placing a significant amount of pressure on banana producing countries, with small farmers and workers suffering the most from ever-increasing costs of production over the past decade”.

Alarmingly, only 18% of the retail price of bananas is paid to farmers, whereas major supermarkets receive 40%.

The Fairtrade New Zealand website also says that the new report describes how buying Fairtrade can offset the negative impacts being felt by banana farmers:

“Fairtrade provides major economic benefits for producers with a guaranteed floor price (the Fairtrade Minimum Price) for bananas, as well as a Fairtrade Premium (an additional sum that is received by farmer cooperatives/associations, which currently sits at $1 USD per box of bananas), which is used to invest in housing, health, better environmental protection strategies and education.”

“Fairtrade is key for banana producers because it offers not only a secure and stable price for produce and for plantation workers but it also means plantations are able to improve productivity and quality through the support networks and training provided through Fairtrade,” says Molly Harriss Olson, Fairtrade CEO Australia and New Zealand.

Read the full report here, or read Fairtrade New Zealand’s news release here.

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