In a public letter to an important German retailer and in further statements, banana producers and plantation workers from Colombia, Ecuador and Costa Rica have commented on a unilateral price reduction. They vehemently object to a price reduction, as this could lead to a significant loss of jobs.
Germany is one of the largest consumers of bananas in Europe. 75% of the bananas sold in Germany are imported from the three aforementioned countries. Current price wars in Germany, which aim to make the tropical fruit even more attractive to consumers, are seen as problematic by the signees of the letter. The open letter points out that a further market price reduction for bananas is unacceptable, as it will destroy jobs and will prevent compliance with both social and environmental standards.
Traceability & sustainability
"In the last 5 years, the banana trade in Northern Europe has changed a lot: Consumers are becoming more aware of the origin of the fruit and other products and are interested in traceability and, above all, in the sustainability of the supply chain, meaning that producers must take measures to protect the environment, improve workers' living conditions, and pursue profitable trade that makes economic sense, otherwise there is no future for the sector," say banana growers and exporters in Ecuador.
Justice & responsibility
The representatives of the banana sector in Colombia will emphasize that they can not imagine that price dumping is in the interest of the consumer: "They would not support a trade policy that would negate the countless efforts of producers in the countries of origin to give them high quality fruit that was produced with justice and responsibility."
Improvement of the banana value chain
The organizations SÜDWIND, WWF, Oxfam, Global Nature Fund and Fairtrade Germany as well as Fyffes and Kaufland have entered into a dialogue in the Action Alliance for Sustainable Bananas (ABNB) in order to improve the social, ecological and economic conditions in the banana value chain. This collaboration between non-governmental organizations and the private sector is supported by the Federal Government. One of the aims of the ABNB is to improve the living and working conditions and wages in the production countries in vertical cooperation with the partners in the value chain. In the long term, the aim is to pay for living wages that are at least as sturdy as possible, based on the calculation methods used by the World Banana Forum or the ISEAL Global Living Wage Coalition.
The price dumping in the banana industry in Germany and Europe is being watched with great concern by the members of the ABNB. The ABNB stresses the absolute need to improve the incomes of smallholders, as well as the wages of growers and plantation workers, to raise social standards and to invest in environmental protection and the conservation of biodiversity.
Appeal to the entire supply chain
The open letter from the Latin American banana producers ends with an appeal to a broad responsibility throughout the supply chain: "There is no need to lower prices. [...] Bananas are by far the cheapest fruit available throughout the year. We, as a sector, refuse to take a step back in our continued efforts just because the last link in the commerce chain does not understand this trade. Sustainability is important and one has to consider all links in the supply chain."
The ABNB supports this appeal, because sustainable production also requires attention for social and environmental standards and this means that banana producers must have sufficient economic leeway for sustainable production.