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Colombian banana industry welcome Sainsbury’s fairer prices and four year contracts

The Colombian Banana Growers Association (Augura) are happy with the announcement from Sainsbury’s to pay better prices to promote fairer wages for banana industry workers. The retailer also committed to four year-long contracts with banana suppliers. “We receive positively the latest communiqué of the British supermarket Sainsbury's. We invite retailers in other countries to follow this path of commitment in the medium and long term,” says Dr. Emerson Aguirre Medina, president of Augura.

In a statement released last week Sainsbury’s said “From today, every single banana bought at Sainsbury’s will contribute towards paying thousands of workers a fairer wage and support the future of banana growers in Cameroon, Colombia, Dominican Republic and Ghana. Last year, Sainsbury’s, along with nine other UK retailers brought together by IDH, committed to enabling banana workers – those employed on large banana plantations – to receive a living wage by 2027. Sainsbury’s has taken action to address living wages now, three years ahead of the industry commitment.

“The price Sainsbury’s is paying for every box of bananas now covers the cost of the fruit, plus a premium which is invested into workers’ wages. This additional money helps the workers to cover food, housing, education and healthcare costs, improving their livelihoods and those of their families.”

Ruth Cranston, Sainsbury’s Director of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, said: “Bananas are our bestselling fruit and by improving wages on this product we can positively impact the lives of thousands of people in the countries we source from. But we want every banana worker across the entire industry to benefit and we can’t do this alone, that’s why we’re urging other retailers to act now so that all workers can be paid fairly. By choosing Sainsbury’s bananas, our customers are helping to both enrich workers’ livelihoods through fairer pay and tackle climate change, supporting a thriving and enduring banana industry for the long term. This has all been possible thanks to our longstanding relationships with Fairtrade and Fyffes. We look forward to many more years of working together as partnership is the key to creating resilient and responsible supply chains.”

Dr Emerson welcomed the positive news on behalf of his industry. “Since the actions taken by this chain represent its permanent commitment to sustainability issues and its medium and long-term vision in this field. We applaud this initiative and invite retailers in other countries to follow this path of commitment in the medium and long term, where sustainability is understood as a life project for workers, producers and other members of the commercial chain.”

The signing of four year contracts provides much needed financial stability for the Colombian and banana industries from other supplying countries. “On the other hand, the signing of contracts for more than three years allows us to strengthen the implementation and development of methodologies that contribute to the work that the banana sector has been developing for more than 30 years, mainly derived from the joint construction of a living wage for workers. Likewise, continuing to work with Fairtrade will allow us to consolidate strategies with all the actors of the banana chain in favour of improving the quality of life through the payment of the premium, advancing in the social management of those farms that have a commercial relationship with the supermarket. Sainsbury’s has also moved to four year contracts to give its growers greater stability and financial security,” concludes Dr. Emerson.

For more information:
Dr. Emerson Aguirre Medina
Colombian Banana Growers Association