August 14, 2009
Fairtrade wants more for bananas

Representatives of some eight Fairtrade producer organizations from the Latin American/Caribbean region, including WINFA, have made a united call for an upward revision of the minimum prices paid for Fairtrade bananas. The call was made in a Declaration signed by them at the conclusion of a two- day meeting held in Santa Marta, Colombia, last week.{{more}}

Called the “Declaration of Santa Marta”, the declaration noted that: The minimum prices for Fairtrade bananas have not been changed since 2005. In the meantime, steeply increasing production costs make the current prices inadequate; While the international financial crisis seems not to have adversely affected the banana market with even an upturn in prices and volumes of non-Fairtrade bananas, and Fairtrade banana sales have increased by 27 per cent between 2007 and 2008, there has been no commensurate increase in Fairtrade prices and there continues to be a very unfair price structure in the industry with the returns to farmers far lower than those to retailers and other intermediaries in the industry.

The declaration also called for: the institution of a new increased minimum price for Fairtrade bananas after consultations with all concerned. This price must reflect efforts made by farmers at considerable cost to maintain social and environmental Fairtrade standards; the maintenance of the current level of Social Premium payments at US$1.00 per 18kg box; the revision of the price structure to a more just, fair and balanced one where producers are concerned; the holding of a joint meeting between producers, importers, exporters, retailers, Fairtrade National Initiatives and the Fairtrade Labelling Organizations(FLO) in September to decide on the new prices; other actors in the Fairtrade chain to be subjected to the same level of transparency and accountability that is required of producers.

Concrete proposals as to the new minimum price for each country (the Windward Islands are treated as one country) have been forwarded to FLO’s Standard Committee for consideration. WINFA was represented at the meeting by its Fairtrade Technical Officer, Karomo Browne.