What's the real cost of producing our favourite fruit?

What's the real cost of producing our favourite fruit?


New Zealanders eat more bananas per person than any other country in the world! Isn’t that incredible? But while our love of bananas might make you happy, the story behind the banana trade isn’t something to smile about.

Did you know that the majority of banana plantation workers don’t earn enough to live and support their families? 

Sounds pretty incredible when you think of the big profits they make for banana companies and supermarkets. But to keep prices low - and profits high - the people who grow them don’t get a very fair slice of the pie. 

The pressure put on banana growers by the companies higher up the food chain means lower wages, longer hours, and deteriorating working conditions. As you can imagine, it’s pretty hard for them to voice their concerns, and they are often prevented from forming trade unions or otherwise protecting workers rights. Sometimes with violence. 

In the Windward Isles, more than 20,000 of the 25,000 farmers went out of business between 1992 and 2009. And in Ecuador, more and more farmers lose their livelihoods every time the price they get for their produce is lower than the cost of production. 

As well as unfair labour practices and pricing, the banana industry is increasingly reliant on agrichemicals to produce the “perfect” fruit buyers demand. These chemicals that are supposed to protect plants from pests and disease also harm the health of banana workers, and the environment. 

It’s worse than unfair. It’s wrong.

As we discover more and more about how the banana industry is run, more and more people are choosing another way.

That way is Fairtrade.

Fairtrade offers farmers and their families a better deal, helps protect the environment, and it offers YOU, the consumer, a real choice when it comes to your supermarket trolley. 

You can find out more about Fairtrade here.

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