11 Mar 2024

Limiting entry to new fresh banana producers in an effort to deepen benefits for farmers and workers

Banana coop APBOSMAM Peru

The banana industry presents challenges beyond the ordinary. Global issues such as climate change, inflation, and a market predominantly controlled by a handful of major players bring significant adversities to farmers and workers on a global scale.

"With spiking production costs combined with the economic fallout of climate change, COVID-19, and the fight against plant diseases like Fusarium TR4, banana producers are coming under increasing financial pressure, placing their livelihoods, sustainable farming practices, and food security at risk," says Silvia Campos, Senior Advisor for Bananas at Fairtrade International.

Selling under Fairtrade terms is a key avenue for banana farmers to move towards earning a living income. They receive the Fairtrade Minimum Price and the mandatory Fairtrade Premium - an additional amount on top of the selling price that farmer cooperatives choose how to invest in their businesses and communities.

Yet it is crucial that the number of Fairtrade certified producer organisations is balanced with the level of Fairtrade sales, to not dilute benefits for existing producers who might end up selling lower volumes if additional demand is not present.

Therefore, in an effort to better secure incomes for banana smallholders and workers – given the increase in the number of Fairtrade certified banana organisations in recent years – Fairtrade is limiting entry to new fresh banana producers, starting on 1 April 2024.

The measure applies to small-scale producer organisations (SPOs) and hired labour organisations (HLOs) who produce fresh bananas. Producers applying for certification for other banana types, such as baby bananas and plantains, or bananas for drying and processing, are not affected.

“We recognise that this step alone doesn’t guarantee an increase in farmers’ incomes. That is why we will also be reviewing and strengthening other measures, including revising the Trader and Fresh Fruit Standards, and implementing the new Fairtrade Sustainable Banana Offer, especially our approach to achieve living incomes, “ adds Ms Campos.

These requirements are in effect for 24 months starting on 1 April 2024. We will then assess the impact, and whether to extend or end the measure.

For questions please reach out to Silvia Campos, Senior Advisor on Bananas at Fairtrade International via s.campos@fairtrade.net