News archive

Costa Rican agroindustrial workers' federation plans ahead 03.04.2013
Representatives of the four trade unions that make up the new Costa Rican agroindustrial workers' federation - SINTRASTAFCOR, SINTRACOBAL, SITRAP and SINTRAPIFRUT – met in Siquirres on 23rd March. General secretary, Maikol Hernandez, underlined the huge challenges ahead in organising plantation and packhouse workers, as well as those employed in security, transport and logistics between plantations and the port.It was agreed that the private sector unions would need the support of public sector workers' unions and other sections of Costa Rican society if they were to change the anti-union...
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Surviving Panama's banana crisis cooperatively 03.04.2013
Near the archetypal banana town of Changuinola in Panama’s North Western province of Bocas del Toro, just a few kilometres from the Rio Sixaola – and Costa Rica on the other side – are three unusual banana plantations. Many would have predicted that these plantations would not survive the dramatic decline in Panama’s banana exports that has taken place in recent years.What makes the plantations unusual is that they are run by a cooperative of former Chiquita workers. But unlike a more recent cooperative of former Chiquita workers on the Pacific coast of Panama, this cooperative has survived...
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Noboa assets seized to cover tax debt 18.03.2013
Ecuador's Internal Revenue Service (SRI) says it will start to auction the assets it has seized to cover an alleged multi-million dollar tax debt within two months, according to Reefer Trends. SRI National Director Carlos Marx Carrasco explained that it must first perform a valuation of the properties. According to him, nine vehicles, six planes, two boats and several properties totalling 14, 694, 200 m2 have been seized from Alvaro Noboa for the alleged tax debt of Exportadora Bananera Noboa. The latest seizure was nine farms, located in El Engabao, Beaches (Guayas). On this procedure,...
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Pura Vida: film screening in memory of Carlos Arguedas Mora 13.03.2013
A film screening in memory of Carlos Arguedas Mora, a Costa Rican trade unionist and environmental activist is being held at the Scottish Trades Union Congress from 7-9pm on 21st March 2013. The screening will feature two films:Pura Vida (29 mins Costa Rica/Scotland - Jan Nimmo) which exposes the social and environmental impact of toxic agro-chemicals used to grow bananas and pineapples for export to Europe.Portraits from Cameroon  (18 mins Cameroon/Scotland - Jan Nimmo) A series of short banana workers' testimonies from the plantations of Cameroon. These portraits offer an insight into the...
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Mozambican bananas expanding in UK market 06.03.2013
In 2012, over 1000 tonnes of bananas arrived in Britain from a new farm in Northern Mozambique. In February, the Minister of Agriculture, José Pacheco, visited the Cabo Delgado province where the Jacaranda company currently has some 100 hectares of banana for export. He told Radio Moçambique that the company was hoping to increase exports to over 3000 tonnes in 2013. However, the company, would like to expand to 1000 hectares, although it seems that one of the constraints to such a major expansion is the capacity of the port of Nacala. The Agriculture Minister, in the face of sensitivities of...
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A Race To The Top 29.01.2013
Since the declaration of ‘war’ on UK banana retail prices by WalMart subsidiary Asda ten years ago, very low banana pricing has become a feature of the British market - a very unwelcome feature indeed for all those involved in supplying the UK market. But most of the 60 million consumers who buy bananas every week cannot even quote the price they have paid for their bananas as they walk out of the store! This is just one of the paradoxes posed by Britain’s favourite fruit.Read about the impact of more than a decade of price wars and the potential for a 'race to the top' in the banana industry...
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Colombian banana crisis: a ticking time bomb? 23.01.2013
In spite of the country's tragic record of murders and threats to trade unionists, Colombia is the country where trade union rights in the banana industry have been most respected for the last 15 years. However the national collective bargaining agreement that covers the wages, conditions and social benefits of some 20,000 plantation and packhouse workers and their famlilies on over 300 farms has been put under undue pressure as the union Sintranagro told press this week.Reefer Trends reported the fears of Sintrainagro president that 3,000 workers who will lose their jobs when 32 banana farms...
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Does the British banana market make sense? 17.12.2012
Fresh Fruit Portal publish opinion piece by Banana Link's International Coordinator, Alistair Smith: 'Since the declaration of ‘war’ on U.K. banana prices by Walmart subsidiary Asda 10 years ago, very low banana pricing has become a feature of the British market – a very unwelcome feature indeed for all those involved in supplying the U.K. market. But most of the 60 million consumers who buy bananas every week cannot even quote the price they have paid for their bananas as they walk out the store. This is just one of the paradoxes posed by Britain’s favorite fruit.That the price of loose...
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Political banana skin sidestepped 12.12.2012
The EU’s agreement with 10 Latin American states over banana imports was described as “a historic moment" by former EU trade commissioner Pascal Lamy, now director general of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), last month, according to a recent article on arc2020. Lamy himself has taken part in the negotiations wearing first an EU hat before his career move to the WTO: “…quite a few people who worked on the cases, both in the secretariat and in member governments have retired long ago,” he told a Geneva press conference.But paid retirement is no more than a dream for thousands of banana...
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Windwards in struggle for banana survival 12.12.2012
Renwick Rose, former coordinator of WINFA (the Association of Caribbean Farmers) describes the struggle facing Windward Island banana farmers, which he fears may be their last.....In close to six decades of its existence, the banana industry in the Windward Islands has endured and literally weathered all kinds of challenges, rising time after time out of adversity to clear many different hurdles.  As 2012 draws to an end however, it may be facing its gravest ever threat, one which if not tackled with tact and determination, could sound the death knell for the industry and those farming...
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