Banana Link’s exciting news from the World Banana Forum

Banana Link recently published news reports on various interesting topics. Firstly, the World Banana Forum consolidated and celebrated the achievements of industry cooperation, from the recent third conference of the World Banana Forum, which attracted over 300 delegates from 42 countries across all continents to Geneva. The conference was very successful, with a good balance regarding its participants. The conference also celebrated the achievements that have resulted from the collaborative approach fostered by the WBF. Banana Link’s reaction was very positive, as they find that there is now enough collective energy to raise the level of cooperation between the diverse players. Now, more pragmatic changes are possible which could turn the sector into a model for others. Learn more here

Banana Link also reported on the Gender Equity Meeting of the Third Conference of the World Banana Forum, that had close to 100 participants. During the key note presentations, the International Labour Organisation noted the very low levels of women’s employment and very low wage levels in the banana industry, which is also supported by Banana Link’s own research. Learn more here or access the resources of the Gender Equity Meeting here.

As a final piece of news about the WBF, Banana Link reported that small scale farmers and trade unions representing plantation workers are warning that without fundamental changes around banana production, the fruit itself is in danger of disappearing from shelves. Banana production is based on low-paid, large-scale monoculture that is destroying the workers’ health, as well as the natural environment and local communities. Banana Link commented that they are fully committed to helping develop an environment of cooperation between all stakeholders in the banana trade to work towards achieving the goals of a sustainable industry that provides decent work and healthy working conditions for the banana producers. Learn more here

11th WTO Ministerial – Letter from Global Civil Society about the WTO Agenda

300 member organisations of global civil society from more than 150 countries, representing tens of millions of people from around the world, signed and sent a letter to WTO regarding the ongoing negotiations towards the 11th Ministerial meeting (MC11) in Buenos Aires, December 10-13, 2017. The organisations, among which also the Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO), include in their letter their concerns about the press reports indicating that some WTO members are pushing a dangerous and inappropriate new agenda under the disguising rubric of “e-commerce” and the potential blocking of the urgent need to change existing WTO rules which are constraining governments’ policy space for job creation and development, including achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Read the full letter here.

Fair Trade measures against sexual harassment in Kenyan flower farms


Exploitation of workers at an industrial scale, allegations of low pay, unfair dismissals and cases of sexual harassment. This appears to be the daily life of the female workers on the rose and chrysanthemums fields near Lake Naivasha, 100km north of Nairobi.
Aware of these practices, Fairtrade International, which certifies 39 flower farms in Kenya, has set up gender committees provides also training in each of them to prevent such behaviours and to ensure harassments are reported. One of the interviewees declared in the report feeling more safe working in a Fairtrade certified farm.
On the occasion of the International Women’s Day (8 March), Fairtrade International decided to shine the spotlight on a Kenyan flower picker, working in a Fairtrade certified farm. According to Rosemary Achieng, the working conditions are better now, with women and men now having the same rights. “There are regular working hours, fixed leave days, and significantly improved safety regulations”, she declared.
The gender committees created by Fairtrade International in its certified farms help to foster gender equality. “The gender committee is so important because it ensures everyone is treated equally,” Achieng explains. “That is especially important for the women workers, as they are often not aware of their rights. I organized trainings to equip them with the relevant knowledge. Now they are much stronger than before.”

Fairtrade Asia Pacific encouraged to implement Fair Trade in China


With the aim to raise awareness in China concerning Fair Trade, the workshop has gathered around 60 participants including Central government representatives from Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture and National Poverty Reduction Office, Beijing Municipal government, local producer groups and federations, agribusiness companies and media. The Central and Municipal governments encouraged Fairtrade Asia Pacific in providing access to value chains for marginalized farmers. An encouraging conclusion has been reached during this workshop, since the participants suggested the creation of a collective to better implement Fair Trade at a local level after representatives of Fairtrade certified Small Producers Organisations in China narrated their experience of engagement with Fairtrade International and its impact on their livelihood.

Fair Trade farmers confront child labour


In 2015, a report revealed that Belize did too little to eradicate child labour, included its worst forms, even though the country had signed the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
However, the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers’ Association (BSCFA) had already taken action to withdraw children from unacceptable work, jointly with Fairtrade International, FLOCERT, the independent certification body of Fairtrade International, and CLAC, the organisation representing the Fairtrade certified farmers from Latin and Central America. Indeed, BSCFA had funded a programme to prevent child labour in the Belizean sugar cane industry, following the suspension of its Fairtrade certification in 2014 after two auditors found evidence of child labour during school hours on two sugar cane farms.
An important step forward was taken this February by the Belizean government, with the establishment of three bodies dealing with child labour. This measure has been welcomed by BSCFA and by Fairtrade International, which encouraged the European Union, in its joint project partnership with the government of Belize, to implement the Youth Inclusive Community Based Monitoring and Remediation System (YICBMRS).


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      The first EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award is officially launched!


      08 December 2017 (Brussels)Yesterday, the European Commission officially launched the first EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award. The Fair Trade movement warmly encourage local authorities to give the necessary visibility to their key contributors to make trade Fair by joining the competition.

      The long-awaited EU Cities for Fair and Ethical Trade Award has been officially launched yesterday. This was a commitment that the Commission took in October 2014, when the current EU Trade strategy was launched.

      The purpose of the award is to:

      • Recognize and celebrate cities’ achievements and positive impact in the areas of social, economic and environmental sustainability in international trade. 
      • Emphasize Fair and ethical trade schemes, as well as other non-governmental sustainability schemes, which may bring more sustainable opportunities to small producers in third countries and thus support sustainable and inclusive development.

      The call for applications is now open and EU local authorities can apply until April 2018. The winner is expected to be announced in Brussels in June 2018.

      “The launch of this award has been strongly requested by the Fair Trade movement and the more than 2000 Fair Trade Towns. Therefore, we welcome this initiative which gives the necessary visibility to the contribution of local authorities in promoting sustainable consumption and production models.”

      Sergi Corbalán, FTAO Executive Director

      The Fair Trade movement looks forward to supporting the European Commission and the International Trade Centre, appointed to set-up the award, to make this initiative a real success! The Fair Trade movement will mobilise its network to ensure a high participation of EU local authorities in the award. It will also seize the opportunity to raise awareness on the role of local policy makers in promoting sustainable development through trade.

      You can learn more about the award and how to apply here

      You can read FTAO’s toolkit on localising the SDGs through Fair Trade here

      A pdf version of this press release can be found here.


      The Fair Trade Advocacy Office (FTAO) speaks out for Fair Trade and Trade Justice with the aim to improve the livelihoods of marginalised producers and workers in the South. The FTAO is a joint initiative of Fairtrade International, the World Fair Trade Organization-Global and the World Fair Trade Organization-Europe.


      Peter Möhringer | | Tel: +32 (0)2 54 31 92 3

      Fair Trade Advocacy Office

      Village Partenaire - bureau 1 | 15 rue Fernand Bernierstraat | 1060 Brussels – Belgium


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