Why is the World Banana Forum important?

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The recent third conference of the World Banana Forum attracted over 300 delegates from 42 countries across all continents to Geneva, with all key players along the chain, from plantation and packhouse workers to global retailers, very well represented. The four-day event was hosted jointly by the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation, the International Labour Organisation and the federal government of Switzerland.
Participants represented a balance of all players involved in banana production and trade: small-, medium- and large-scale growers’ organisations, workers’ unions, exporters, importers, retailers, civil society from consumer countries, scientists and research institutions as well as governments and inter-governmental organisations.
The main issues on the agenda were gender equity, labour rights, occupational health and safety, sustainable production systems, building climate resilience, fair distribution of value.
The plenary conference was preceded by a very well-attended workshop on “Gender Equity in the Banana Industry”, which generated a practical set of proposals for the World Banana Forum on women’s empowerment, women’s employment, the gender pay gap, occupational health and safety and sexual harassment and gender-based violence.