Fairtrade Fortnight

 

All Good Bananas brought the first Fairtrade bananas to New Zealand, to empower New Zealanders to choose a better banana that supports the growers, their community and the land that we get our favourite fruit from. By picking up a bunch, you’re choosing to help growers on the other side of the world in the El Guabo Association of Small Banana Producers.

 
 
 
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Not only are growers ensured a fair price for their bananas, they’re also empowered to make decisions to improve their quality of life... This Fairtrade Premium goes to projects that are decided by the growers themselves.

Fairtrade advocates for improved terms of trade for often marginalized growers that lose out in the mainstream market, supporting farmer communities with a stable income and beyond this, a Fairtrade Premium that is invested into community projects that enables the community to thrive. When you buy All Good Bananas and you see the Fairtrade Mark, you know that they were grown by small-scale farmers that are given a hand up, not a hand out.

How are growers protected?
Growers are protected from the volatile mainstream market that fluctuates according to supply and demand, and often the power of multi-national importers. Norma Porras, an El Guabo banana farmer, had experienced it firsthand. For 25 years before joining the co-operative, her life and livelihood were run by brokers who bought her bananas at lower prices, not knowing when her next payment would be.

“I didn’t have money to pay the workers, always running my life and my company in to debt, borrowing money to get ahead all the time.” She was running in circles, only just managing to pay her debts back when the market was good before finding herself again borrowing more and more money as the price per box steadily fell.”, Norma says.

The Fairtrade Minimum protects growers against these fluctuating prices. It’s a set price every year at or above the market price that the growers get paid, no matter the market conditions. This means that the growers can save and plan for the future, their family and their community.

Banana growing on large-scale plantations uses aggressive agro-chemicals that have been linked to respiratory issues, birth defects and cancer. Fairtrade bans more than * (waiting on latest # from Pravin) harmful chemicals often used in large banana farms. They also encourage education around sustainable growing practices like crop rotation to protect the land for generations to come.

 
 
 
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We think Norma put it just right: “I have found a family where everyone loves and respects each other inside the association”

How are growers empowered?
Not only are growers ensured a fair price for their bananas, they’re also empowered to make decisions to improve their quality of life. The Fairtrade Premium is a payment above and beyond the Fairtrade Minimum that comes from every banana bunch sold. This Fairtrade Premium goes to projects that are decided by the growers themselves.

Your choice to pick up a bunch of All Good Bananas has impacted the growers in many ways, through the Fairtrade Premium investment. Everyone in the co-operative has access to 24-hour free medical care, children receive yearly school packs, and investment into their schools (including new playgrounds!).

Growers are also encouraged and educated to strengthen their voice in the supply chain, business development through investment in education and tools for export, like forklifts and accounting programmes. These are often small but essential contributions that can equalize growers in the mainstream market, against conventional growers.

Research into sustainable growing methods is also another way El Guabo has spent their Fairtrade Premium in the last year. This included support for all farmers to improve the quality of land by increasing the organic matter in the soils, support to convert to organic production, and testing into natural alternatives to control pests.

We think Norma put it just right: “I have found a family where everyone loves and respects each other inside the association”

What does it mean to me?
You can enjoy All Good Bananas on your toast, in your smoothies and more, and feel good knowng that the growers were paid fairly for your bunch. They’re produced with the growers in mind, and you can get a healthy, nutritional powerhouse for a snack that will keep you going. It’s our job as Kiwis to look after our producers near and far, and to treat people as if they lived next door. All Good Bananas were grown healthily, to support the land and the growers to have a better say in the global market.

Bananas are one of the most popular items in our basket, and every bunch makes a difference. By choosing All Good Bananas, you can continue to support our small farmers in El Guabo just like we would help our neighbours.

 
Sean Walker