What the Other Bale Earns

A new website imagines how life would be if one of the world's highest paid footballers was a Colombian banana farmer instead. And invites readers to take part.

13 December 2013

World famous footballer Gareth Bale earns over 17.5 million euros per year, making him one of the highest earning football players in the world. A popular new website called ‘What Bale Earns’ invites readers to suggest what Bale could do with that much money.

But what if Bale was a banana farmer in Colombia? And instead of earning millions, he earned what the average banana farmer takes in during a year - roughly 1,500 euros?

A new website, www.whatbaleearns.co, invites viewers to try and answer the question (the ‘co’ stands for Colombia). The website, developed by JWT Amsterdam with insight from Max Havelaar Netherlands, brings attention to the smallscale banana farmers and the challenges they face. And puts their daily wages in perspective.

According to the original site, Bale the footballer earns enough in just six hours to put a deposit on a house; while Bale the banana farmer would have to work four days and six hours just to take his family to the movies (provided that they could go without food, water and paying the rent).

Visitors to the site are invited to submit their own suggestions via Twitter for what Banana Farmer Bale can buy since joining the fictional Ubate bananas in Colombia.

In the real world, banana farmers are feeling the crush as grocery stores ‘race to the bottom’ trying to deliver the lowest possible price to consumers. The combination of this price war with fluctuating supply and demand and increasing costs of production has left many producers in a precarious position.

A recent price review for the Fairtrade Minimum Price resulted in an increase in prices for farmers selling bananas on Fairtrade terms. But it’s an ongoing challenge to determine minimum prices that cover average sustainable costs for banana producers, while maintaining a reasonable price difference between Fairtrade and non-Fairtrade bananas.

Read more about the process of setting banana prices at Fairtrade here. Or visit our banana product page to learn more about the banana industry and the benefits of buying Fairtrade bananas.

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