Why bananas matter

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  • They are the most traded fruit worldwide and, in terms of value, the fifth most traded agricultural product. The global export value of the banana trade was estimated to be US$7 billion in 2013, with a retail value between $20 and 25 billion.
  • They constitute a significant portion of the export revenues for many Latin American and Caribbean countries. For example bananas make up 10% of Ecuador’s total exports and it is estimated up to sixty cents  in every dollar circulating in the fragile island economy of Dominica are generated by banana production.
  • As a result, they are an essential source of income and employment for many households, as well as being a source of nutrition and food security for more than 400 million people in producer countries.
  • They are symbolic of the growing power of supermarkets along global supply chains and the wide range of injustices present in international trade today, including; unacceptable working and living conditions for many of those who grow and harvest the bananas; suppression of independent trade unions and a failure to respect core labour standards; environmental devastation caused by toxic chemicals and intensive monoculture plantation production; disproportionate economic and political power along the supply chain, exploiting many for the benefit of a few.