The report Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices it was presented in Brussels at a conference that took place on 10 November 2015 in the European Parliament, in Brussels. This study published on October 2015 was developed under the project Make Fruit Fair, implemented in Portugal by IMVF along with 19 partners in the European Union, Cameroon, Colombia, Ecuador and Windward Islands and funded by the European Union.

The Make Fruit Fair campaign has decided to commission this study with the aim to investigate:

 

  • Banana value chains in Europe focusing on the following countries: the UK, Portugal, Malta, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Latvia and Romania.
  • UTPs between fruit buyers in Europe and banana producers in exporting countries,their consequences on farmers and workers, and the relationship with the pressure on prices in European markets.

The report will be launched by the pan-European Make Fruit Fair Campaign at a press conference in Brussels on 10 November 2015. Several speakers will present key findings and talk about how the European Union should tackle the problem of UTPs in this multi-billion Euro market:

  • Christophe Alliot, author of the report Banana value chains in Europe and the consequences of Unfair Trading Practices.
  • José Madriz, an insider of the banana industry who has worked as a manager for several big banana corporations in Latin America. After switching sides, he joined the Latin American network of Fair Trade small producers (CLAC) in 2013.
  • Iris Munguia, the Coordinator of COLSIBA (Regional Coordination of Latin American Banana & Other Agroindustrial Product Worker Unions), recipient of the prestigious SOLIDAR Silver Rose Award for her international solidarity work.
  • Mbide Charles Kude, General Secretary of Fako Agricultural Workers Union (FAWU) which organises plantation workers in South West Cameroon.
  • The panel will be moderated by Sergi Corbalán, Fair Trade Advocacy Office.

The report is available for download here.

Bananas are a major staple as well as an important cash crop in developing countries and the most eaten fruit in Europe and Northern America. For decades, the banana economy has been one of the key examples of trade injustice and power concentration in the hands of a few multinational companies which has affected the lives of thousands of small banana farmers and workers. More recently, the growing market power of retailers and competition between large fruit companies to remain their ‘preferred suppliers’ has led banana chains to be increasingly driven by supermarkets, notably in Europe.

Since the beginning of 2010, a consortium of European civil society organisations have been campaigning under the banner ‘Make Fruit Fair’ to raise awareness on the social and environmental issues related to banana (and pineapple) production and trade. Supporters have been encouraged to respond to appeals for urgent action, in particular on freedom of association, discrimination in the workplace, and living wages for workers on plantations.

 

In 2012, the Make Fruit Fair campaign began to explore the broader need for reforming the European competition law and for regulating supermarket buyer power at European Union (EU) level. On this particular issue, notably Unfair Trading Practices (UTPs) of retailers in the EU, a communication of the European Commission (EC) was published in 2014. A more detailed EU report is due to be released early 2016 to present what course of action the EU should take on UTPs including an assessment of the Member States competition authorities’ actions and an independent evaluation of the Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) of the European Commission.More information in www.makefruitfair.org/pt-pt