Peter's Blog


Written by Peter Johnston on .

Here is a video introducing Foncho, a banana farmer from Colombia who is at this very moment touring parts of Scotland talking about life as a banana farmer. We watched a longer video from the Fairtrade Foundation during our service to mark the start of Fairtrade Fortnight at the weekend. I briefly talked about some of the struggles that are faced by farmers and workers because of the peculiarly British penchant for cheap bananas. 

 The Guardian has a good article about this very issue, noting that bananas have halved in price over the past ten years as they are used as loss-leaders in supermarket price wars.

The foundation's chief executive, Michael Gidney, compared the price of a banana that has been shipped in from the Caribbean or Central America to the 20p paid for an apple grown in Britain.

He said: "If prices go up for farmers and down at the consumption end it's pretty obvious there's a squeeze. Our research is showing that squeeze is disabling farmers, making it impossible to build up resilient businesses and to trade out of poverty."

Gidney said some supermarkets may also be losing "hundreds of thousands of pounds per week" by selling bananas at a loss and called on the government to investigate what he called a "dysfunctional market", which was not good for farmers, retailers or consumers in the long term.

Banana Tree

When the younger folks left us on Sunday they joined the Sunday Club to do some more research about bananas and in the process created their own banana tree which was on show next to the Fairtrade Stall that did some amazingly rapid sales of banana bread and muffins (baked using both fairtrade bananas and sugar) after the service. I didn't get a look in, everything was gone before I got into the hall!