Next time you go into the grocery store, you can do something that will make a difference in the life of farmers. “According to retailers, bananas are one of the most important items in a grocery store. The price of a banana often influences where a consumer shops, so it’s important that retailers price them competitively. While a handful of large companies control over 80% of the banana trade (exporting & importing), supermarkets are the most powerful actors along the banana supply chain. The power of banana companies to dictate the price of bananas has eroded over the past few decades because of supermarket chain consolidation. These supermarket chains sign long-term contracts with the large banana brands; so when faced with losing a large supermarket chain as their customer, banana companies are forced to lower their prices. Therefore unless retailers and ultimately consumers are willing to pay a higher price for bananas, banana companies and the farmers they buy from cannot afford to improve social and environmental standards.” Therefore, banana farmers are treated badly and are not paid adequately. Many make less than $1.50 a day.
Luckily, we can use this same fact that consumers buy A LOT of bananas to help improve these conditions. Fair trade bananas are bought at a higher price to farmers. Next time to go to the grocery store, fill out a Product Request Card and give it to the manager. This card asks grocery stores to purchase fair trade because their customers value it. If managers see a demand for a product, they will stock it. Supply and demand are basic rules of economics. Therefore, if managers get enough requests for fair trade bananas, we can start increasing their popularity and helping the conditions of farmers.