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Bananas!

Page history last edited by catrin treanor 3 years, 4 months ago

 

 

Food Supply IssuesThe global pattern of food supply, consumption and trade:  Bananas are a good example!

 

The Impact of TNCs in Ecuador - WATCH 

Bananas are a CASH CROP - they are produced for profit and not for the subsistence of the grower's family.  Traditionally cash crops have only been a smaller, but necessary, part of a yield, in order to raise funds to invest in their farming for the following year and to provide some money for the family's well-being.  The most common cash crops in tropical and sub-tropical areas  include oranges, bananas, coffee, sugar cane, cocoa, jute and cotton.  Take a look at the graphs on PAGE 207

 

Relying on cash crops can create problems:

  • The need for profit often leads to ‘monocropping’, which is the practice of growing a single crop on a piece of land. It is often associated with soil degradation, and so can actually lead to hardship for the crop grower.
  • The farmer may end up with less land to grow their own subsistence crops for their family and end up in even more debt, having to purchase their own food.
  • They are at the mercy of the weather - so droughts, hurricanes, pests can wipe out crops and therefore drastically reduce their crop from year to year.
  • Small farmers are also dictated to by the big companies who are likely  to buy their product - controlling prices, making demands about quality of the product...
  • The farmers may end up in debt as they try to increase their yields, purchasing expensive chemicals (pesticides, fertilisers)
  • The prices of cash crops also fluctuate on the world market due to  competition with other producers in other countries and between the large buyers.

 

Use this word doc - questions to guide you through your case study of the banana industry.  Then extend your knowledge by following some of these links...

 

Bent Bananas - Ecologist article (key points highlighted here)

 

 

The banana wars explained

 

Working towards a more sustainble banana industry ...  Banana Link  a small NGO

An extract from Banana Link's website:

 

In the past, Just five companies (Dole, Del Monte, Chiquita, Fyffes and Noboa) controlled 80% of the international banana trade. Their share has now fallen to 45% as the organisation of the banana trade has changed in recent years.  The race to the bottom in the industry is now being led by European supermarkets  which have become the most powerful players along the international banana supply chain. Over the last few years British supermarkets have engaged in ‘banana price wars’ matching each other’s price cuts to such an low level that it is now impossible for many plantation workers to earn a living – or even a legal minimum - wage. 

 

 

 

A Friends of the Earth briefing - scroll to page 4 for bananas!   But you should balance this with Tesco's viewpoint too?

 

The environmental impacts of banana production - watch  and an overview of environmental and social impacts from Banana Link

 

EU tariffs finally cut - the end of the banana wars?  The consequences for countries like St Lucia? (Globalisation and changes in the European market since 1993 have left St Lucia's banana industry in tatters...)

 

Bananalink estimates that Tesco makes about one million pounds profit per week from banana sales,

 

Fairtrade Bananas - Ecuador

 

What can you do? -Fairtrade

 

http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/farmers-and-workers/bananas

Fortnight 2014 - WATCH THIS! and then what?   

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