Carshalton and Wallington MP Tom Brake celebrated 20 years of Fairtrade by kicking off Fairtrade Fortnight with Foncho a Colombian Banana producer at the Houses of Parliament.
Yorkshire business fairandfunky ran the event in Parliament to bring Fairtrade to the centre of Parliament and Tom was delighted to attend, to show support for the campaign to Make Bananas Fair and meet Foncho, a banana farmer from Cienaga in Colombia.
The UK eats over 5 billion bananas a year; 80% of which are bought from major supermarkets that are continually battling with each other in a very competitive price war. In the past 10 years, the supermarkets have almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas while the cost of producing them has doubled.
This has led to an ever-tightening squeeze on what producers earn for their bananas. This, combined with escalating production and living costs, means many farmers and workers’ standards of living have progressively worsened in the past decade.
Mr Brake said “Hearing about the impact of Fairtrade and the need to make bananas fair, first hand from Foncho was very powerful. I was happy to sign the pledge and support the campaign.”
“As a Fairtrade borough, Sutton is already committed to getting a fair deal for farmers. However, it is important to keep the pressure on businesses to make the switch to Fairtrade produce.”
In Sutton at least two Fairtrade products must be available from 36 retailers and 18 catering outlets in order to remain a Fairtrade borough. The dedicated Fairtrade in Sutton group is committed to raising awareness of Fairtrade among local residents.
Columbian banana farmer Albeiro Alfonso ‘Foncho’ Cantillo Ruiz is in the UK throughout Fairtrade Fortnight to make bananas big news, and joined fairandfunky to convince the government to take action to help end unfair pricing by supermarkets. Throughout the event Foncho shared his story, and encouraged people to sign the “Make bananas fair” pledge.