Discount bananas seriously impacting prices, Fairtrade warns

Discount bananas seriously impacting prices, Fairtrade warns
© Belga

The fall in the average price of bananas, notably in Belgium, is putting pressure on the incomes of producer groups, the NPO Fairtrade Belgium warned on Wednesday at the beginning of "Fair Trade Week."

The organisation is inviting consumers to select fair-trade bananas in order to assure improved conditions for the producers.

Sales of "low cost" bananas have risen sharply in Belgium, going from a 7.7% market share in 2016 to 27.5% last year. Today, a kilo of bananas from Latin America is cheaper than a kilo of Belgian apples, Fairtrade Belgium stated. "That poses a problem because Belgian farmers also need better prices for their products," Nicolas Lambert, the director of the organisation added.

This "discount" banana is putting pressure on the average price, itself also seeing a marked decrease, while production costs are growing every year. "The problem is that when banana prices are very low, it is impossible to cover all costs," Fairtrade Belgium continued.

"The bargain banana does, however, have a very real cost that must, inevitably, be borne. It is frequently the producing communities and the environment who pay the high price."

An epidemic of fusarium - a fungus deadly to the banana plant - declared in two Columbian plantations this summer is also threatening production.

The Brussels Times

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