Since early September of this year, banana producers and exporters from Ecuador, Colombia, Honduras, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, and the Dominican Republic (which account for around 65 percent of global banana trade) have been engaged in an intense dialogue with Rainforest Alliance regarding the update of the private certifier's 2020 standard. The banana growers argue that their contribution to the drafting process has not been taken into account (only 2% of their comments were included), and that the final document is far from the draft presented the previous year, putting at risk the sustainability of the Latin American banana industry, and therefore, the wages of thousands of families depending on this industry.
According to the analysis of the industry, Rainforest Alliance 2020 standard will increase the cost by an additional 1.68 US$ per banana box, which will be reflected in the price of the product on the supermarket shelves. In the absence of a scheme for shared responsibility among the banana value chain actors, banana producers will have to bear this cost alone. This is a burden they cannot afford after the effects of the Covid-19 crisis and the investments needed to curb the Black Sigatoka pest that threatens the region.
Faced with this situation, banana growers have decided to convene a roundtable in conjunction with the main retailers in the European Union (ALDI, REWE and TESCO, among others) to design a scheme for redistributing the burden.
The meeting is scheduled for Friday, November 27. The future of the frog seal depends on the outcome of this call and all eyes are on the responsibility of large supermarket chains.
For more information:
Juan José Pons Arizaga
Ecuadorean Banana Cluster