UK set for Fairtrade Fortnight 2014

Foncho

Thousands of Fairtrade supporters around the country are gearing up to launch an extra special Fairtrade Fortnight campaign in 2014, aiming to bring about landmark change in the banana industry.

Since the first Fairtrade bananas appeared on our shelves 13 years ago, the Fairtrade Foundation has achieved a huge amount – now 1 in 3 bananas in the UK are Fairtrade. They’re our favourite and most popular fruit in the UK – we love them! But despite the achievements there remains a serious problem at the heart of the banana business.

In the past 10 years, the price of bananas in the UK has halved, while the cost of production to the farmers has almost doubled. Bananas are now bought and sold so cheaply in the UK that many of the farmers and workers who grow them are being trapped in poverty. Many banana farmers and workers still can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families, or provide the basics such as education or healthcare.

While Fairtrade provides a vital safety net for some banana farmers and workers, too many still suffer. This Fairtrade Fortnight is about Sticking with Foncho to Make Bananas Fair.

Michael Gidney, Chief Executive of the Fairtrade Foundation, said: ‘After two decades of going against the tide to help farmers make a fair exchange for the fruits of their labour, millions of farmers and workers continue to struggle at the sharp end of unfair supply chains linked to some of our favourite products in 2014. That’s just wrong.

‘What’s more, despite being highly successful in many areas, Fairtrade products still represent less than one percent of global trade in most categories. Our job is by no means done and we plan to tackle this trade injustice, commodity by commodity, starting with Britain’s most popular fruit.’

Around the country thousands of events will be held to amplify the campaign messaging in many of Fairtrade’s network of 570 Fairtrade Towns, 1,000 Fairtrade Schools and 170 Fairtrade Universities, and 7,200 Fairtrade Faith Groups. Activities will include fruit stalls, fairgrounds, dinner parties, quizzes, tugs of war and people will be encourage to involve banana costumes and giant inflatable bananas at their events. Larger public events will incorporate talks and films about the issues. 

Fairtrade banana producers from Ghana and Colombia will visit UK towns, talking to Fairtrade supporter networks to highlight the campaign to make bananas fair.

Visit www.stickwithfoncho.org.uk for further information.

Who is Foncho?

Albeiro Alfonso “Foncho” Cantillo is a 44-year-old banana farmer from Colombia. He works hard, putting in long hours to make his business work. He loves spending time with his family – his wife and their 18-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, who he shares a passion for football with. And like the rest of us, he’s got a to-do list he never gets round to finishing.

Foncho’s livelihood depends on his bananas. He grows them on a plot of land he inherited from his father, which is 1.3 hectares or roughly the size of two football pitches. He cares deeply about his farm and his bananas – as he knows that without them he would struggle to find another job to provide for his family. And that’s why he’s coming all the way to the UK this Fairtrade Fortnight.

Foncho is fuming that the majority of bananas munched in the UK are sold so cheaply that his fellow producers often do not earn enough from what they sell to the UK. Starting this Fairtrade Fortnight he hopes we can make all bananas fair so that every farmer and worker like him who grows them gets a fair deal.