Bananas

They’re one of the most popular fruits in the world, and many people can’t contemplate a morning (or a morning run!) without one. Bananas are also a staple food for millions of people, and a major export that forms the cornerstone of many countries’ economies.

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Robinson works at the Fairtrade certified Sociedad Agrícola Prieto, Ecuador.
Image © Stefan Lechner

Bananas are grown on both small-scale farms as well as large plantations. But a highly competitive market creates price pressure on bananas, ultimately putting the squeeze on banana growers.

Choosing Fairtrade bananas makes a difference

The banana industry is labour-intensive and demanding. Climate change and plant diseases threaten yields, while large multinationals wield considerable influence in a sector that requires significant infrastructure to harvest and transport the quick-ripening fruits. Retailers often offer deep discounts on bananas, sometimes selling below cost to attract customers. Together, these factors put banana producers in a bind.

Fairtrade aims to empower banana farmers and workers, and consumers who buy Fairtrade bananas play a key part – the higher the sales, the more the benefits for producers accrue.

  • Fairtrade banana producers are paid a Fairtrade Minimum Price that acts as a safety net against falling prices. This price varies by region, factoring in local conditions and aiming to cover the average costs of sustainable production.

  • Plantation workers and small-scale banana farmers also receive a Fairtrade Premium – an extra sum of money that farmers and workers invest in business or community projects of their choice. Banana workers have often used the Premium to improve their housing, build schools and clinics, or offer other benefits they see a need for.

  • The Fairtrade Standards are designed to improve employment conditions and protect the rights of workers in the large plantations where the majority of export bananas are grown. In recent years Fairtrade has undertaken pioneering work to define and progress toward living wages for banana workers.

  • For smallholder farms, Fairtrade supports these banana growers to improve their income and their bargaining position in banana supply chains that are often dominated by larger entities.

From strengthening workers’ representation to supporting farmers to mitigate the impacts of climate change, every Fairtrade banana you buy contributes to improving the lives of the workers and farmers behind this favourite fruit.

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Rice farmers used some Fairtrade Premium funds to make a sewing and craft centre for women, to supplement their income.
Image © Didier Gentilhomme

Fairtrade premium

The Fairtrade Premium is an extra sum of money paid on top of the selling price that farmers or workers invest in projects of their choice.

They decide together and democratically how to spend the Fairtrade Premium to reach their goals, such as improving their farming, businesses, or health and education in their community. Farmers and workers know best what their priorities and needs are.

Since 2014, Fairtrade farmers and workers have received well over half a billion euros in Fairtrade Premium.

This is a unique benefit enabled by your decision to buy Fairtrade products.

Looking for Fairtrade Products?

Fairtrade products are widely available. The blue countries and territories on the map below have Fairtrade organizations that promote Fairtrade products. Their websites often include a product finder to show you the full variety of Fairtrade products near you. Even if there isn't a Fairtrade organization where you live, Fairtrade products may still be available – look for our familiar marks on products!