Discounter provokes united protests of banana exporters

Latin American banana pickers reject the price war declared by ALDI

In the price negotiations for the coming year, ALDI (Europe) has announced it will reduce the contract price per banana crate from 12.41 Euro to 11.33 Euro. Thus Aldi again attracted international attention and provoked united protests from the banana exporters of Latin America. Latin American trade unions and the umbrella organization COLSIBA, a partner organization of SÜDWIND, as well as non-governmental organizations are also mobilizing to combat this price war: The price policy of ALDI stands in a blatant contradiction to their own requirements to provide for a lasting banana production in Latin America, as umbrella organization COLSIBA has now said in a statement.

At the beginning of the year, Aldi committed to a declaration of intent at the "Green Week" agricultural trade fair, in the presence of Federal Development Minister Gerd Müller. It vowed to stand up for fair wages and income in global agricultural supply chains. "The current price negotiations show how seriously they are obviously taking this commitment," says Irene Knoke from SÜDWIND. "Aldi cites lower transport costs and a more favorable exchange rate for lower purchase prices. One could have used these margins in order to finally create fair wages."

The costs for the low prices are borne by the workers on the plantations. The umbrella organization of Latin American trade unions (COLSIBA) points this out in a statement: "They only receive a pittance that is not enough to cover the costs of food, education and health for their families. The deregulation of labor laws in Ecuador, the widespread use of permanent contracts and lack of access to health services in most producing countries are also denounced. Their demands for fairer wages and better working conditions are sometimes met with repression by plantation owners in Ecuador or Guatemala. "Through this price war, these same companies violate their ethical aspirations in commercial practice. COLSIBA believes that the time has come to put an end to this duplicity," the statement said.

Currently, the retail sector is trying to polish up its reputation. The percentage of certified bananas on the shelves has continued to rise in recent years. SÜDWIND has also stated several times in the past that certification is a step in the right direction, but not the solution to the problem. In order to be able to offer consumers in Europe a fair and healthy banana, Gilbert Bermudez from umbrella organization COLSIBA is calling for an about-turn: "The business model with low prices that do not cover the true costs of sustainable production and with private certifications that hide the truth from the consumer must change". As direct players in the banana industry, they are offering to discuss serious and joint solutions with retailers in Europe. Food retailers should respond to this offer in the upcoming price negotiations.

"It is unacceptable that the price of bananas is determined by a handful of supermarket chains," says Pedro Morazán of SÜDWIND. "The price calculation must be based on the actual costs incurred along the value chain. The payment of a living wage is the basis for such a price calculation."

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