José Rafael Madriz, coordinator of Banana de CLAC, Costa Rica

"It is true that fair trade sales have not been severely affected"

"We believe it is very important to be open and share the correct information about the weather conditions in Latin America over the past year, and how these may have affected the production. If importers receive misleading information, they may look for alternative volumes elsewhere and that will hurt our producers. They still have production available and they need markets to sell these volumes to," says Nicolás Leger, global coordinator of the CLAC products team, Peru. CLAC is the Latin American and Caribbean Coordinator of Small Producers and Fair Trade Workers.

José Rafael Madriz, CLAC's banana production and market coordinator, based in Costa Rica, points out that the greatest impact of the storms has been recorded in the Caribbean. "Here in Central America we only have two banana producer organizations and they have not been affected. The Dominican Republic, where there has been a significant reduction in the production volume, has been the most severely affected. Some say that more than 40% of the area has been hit, but it will not be possible to estimate to what extent this will have affected the commercial production volumes until it is known how much fruit will be unfit for export."

José states that it is true that sales in Fair Trade have not been severely affected. "At least, no great losses have been observed, but this is due to the fact that the markets were already small before the storms. There has actually been a very strong impact on banana production that is currently in recovery," he says. "We hope there will be a lot of fruit for next year and that there won't be any more natural disasters, as a catastrophe of such magnitude could cause the production to take up to 6 months to recover."

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