Why bananas matter

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  • Bananas are one of the most consumed and cheapest fruits worldwide: they are the most traded fruit and the fifth most traded agricultural product. The global export value of the banana trade was estimated to be US $11.8 billion in 2016, with a retail value between $20 and 25 billion.
  • Bananas constitute a significant portion of the export revenues for many Latin American and Caribbean countries. For example, banana exports accounted for 40.3% of Ecuador’s total exports in 2016, and Ecuadorian bananas account for 30% of the world's banana supply. According to the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, the banana industry generates about 2 to 2 million direct and indirect jobs in the country. It is also estimated up to sixty cents in every dollar circulating in the fragile island economy of Dominica are generated by banana production.
  • 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. However, only 15 to 20% of the world's banana production is traded globally, for example, Brazil export very little and tend to keep bananas for the domestic market
  • Bananas are also 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 and suppression of independent trade unions. Moreover, there is a failure to respect core labour standards, environmental devastation caused by toxic chemicals and intensive monoculture plantation production, as well as disproportionate economic and political power along the supply chain, exploiting many for the benefit of a few.

 

For more information on why bananas matter, please visit:

Ecuador: a report produced in 2016, looking at the impact of the banana industry on the country's economy