They’re one of the most popular fruits in the world, and many people can’t contemplate a morning (or a morning run!) without one. Bananas are also a staple food for millions of people, and a major export that forms the cornerstone of many countries’ economies.

Workers at Coobana cooperative washing bananas before packaging.
Workers at Coobana cooperative washing bananas before packaging.
Fairtrade Foundation

Bananas are grown on both small-scale farms as well as large plantations. But a highly competitive market creates price pressure on bananas, ultimately putting the squeeze on banana growers.

Choosing Fairtrade bananas makes a difference

The banana industry is labour-intensive and demanding. Climate change and plant diseases threaten yields, while large multinationals wield considerable influence in a sector that requires significant infrastructure to harvest and transport the quick-ripening fruits. Retailers often offer deep discounts on bananas, sometimes selling below cost to attract customers. Together, these factors put banana producers in a bind.

Fairtrade aims to empower banana farmers and workers, and consumers who buy Fairtrade bananas play a key part – the higher the sales, the more the benefits for producers accrue.

  • Fairtrade banana producers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price that acts as a crucial safety net for producers and a way to build their resilience amid market fluctuations. Fairtrade reviews this price regularly, in consultation with producers and traders.

  • Plantation workers and small-scale banana farmers also receive a Fairtrade Premium – an extra sum of money that farmers and workers invest in business or community projects of their choice. Banana workers have often used the Premium to improve their housing, educational services for their families and communities, or offer other benefits they see a need for.

  • The Fairtrade Standards are designed to improve employment conditions and protect the rights of workers in the large plantations where the majority of export bananas are grown.

  • The Fairtrade Base Wage, which came into effect on 1 July 2021, is a significant step towards a living wage for thousands of banana plantation workers worldwide, with plantations also required to negotiate a plan to progress to a full living wage. Read more.

  • We have set Living Wage Reference Prices for each major banana producing country. By paying the Living Wage Reference Price per box, workers on a banana plantation can earn at least a living wage as per the applicable Anker Research Institute benchmark. The aim of the Living Wage Reference Prices is to support banana producers and companies in their journey towards Living Wages. The Fairtrade Living Wage Differential is a voluntary contribution that commercial partners can pay after the Fairtrade Minimum Price and Fairtrade Premium for a worker to earn a living wage. The Fairtrade Premium Committee is the best mechanism to distribute the Fairtrade Living Wage Differential among the workers to temporary increase workers’ income, until higher wages are achieved through collective bargaining, governmental regulations or increase of the Fairtrade Base Wage. Read more.

  • Small banana farmers participating in the Productivity Improvement Program run by CLAC are improving the soil health of their farms, resulting in better yields, higher incomes and lower cost of production due to less use of synthetic fertilisers and agrochemicals. Those farmers have also reduced the carbon and water footprint in their farms. Read more.

Do you know our Banana Dashboard?

Visit the Fairtrade Banana Dashboard, a unique tool to learn more about Fairtrade bananas and the path to a fairer banana sector. You’ll learn about Fairtrade producers and origins, services and programmes, insights into human rights and environmental topics, and ways to deepen impact in living wages, climate adaptation, and more.

From strengthening workers’ representation to supporting farmers to mitigate the impacts of climate change, every Fairtrade banana you buy contributes to improving the lives of the workers and farmers behind this favourite fruit.

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