Banana Trade Wars Information Essay

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Unpeeling the banana trade A Fairtrade Foundation Briefing Paper February 2009 Banana facts • • • The banana is the most popular fruit in the world – shoppers spend more than £10 billion a year on the fruit globally1 Fairtrade bananas now account for nearly 2% of the total world trade in fresh bananas Bananas are the world’s fourth most important crop after rice, wheat and maize in terms of ensuring food security in dozens of countries in the developing world2 Just 15% of bananas and plantains are traded on the world market, the rest are used for domestic consumption3 Production and trade in bananas is dominated by five companies – Chiquita, Dole, Del Monte, Noboa and Fyffes – which control more than 80% of global trade4 The majority of banana plantation workers do not earn enough to provide for their families – some earn less than £1 a day Between 2002 and 2008, supermarket price wars saw the UK retail price of loose bananas slashed by up to 41% In 2008, one in every four bananas sold in the UK was Fairtrade In 2008, the value of the UK Fairtrade banana market was £150 million The UK banana industry as a whole is worth £580 million annually Bananas are the third most valuable product sold in UK supermarkets – only petrol and lottery tickets out sell them Between 2000 and 2008, Fairtrade certified producer groups and their communities received around $28 million in Fairtrade premiums just from the UK sales of Fairtrade bananas Calculation by Banana Link on basis of FAO trade statistics 2005 FAO figures 3 Ibid. 4 FAO/UNCTAD figures 1 2 • • • • • • • • • Executive summary The banana: cheap, colourful and the UK’s firm favourite in the fruit department. But delve into the reality behind the piles of yellow fruit on our supermarket shelves and the story is not always so sunny. This briefing sets out to explain why we all need to go further and make
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