Friday, 11 April 2014

Foncho says don't give up














Foncho recently visited Southend-on-Sea and he implores us to not give up.

We’ve got some good news, some bad news and importantly a huge thank you. We’re now at 50,000 petition signatures and our campaign has the support of 45 cross-party MPs. Thank you for the actions you have taken to increase awareness of the plight of banana farmers and workers.

We all know that the brutal and futile retail battles are unsustainable for everyone: consumers at home and farmers and workers in developing countries. If our retailers can’t or won’t act it is up to the government to take action. We are deeply disappointed that Vince Cable, Secretary of State for Business, is trying to pass the buck. In his response to our campaign, he says he supports Fairtrade’s work and believes that businesses must take a long-term view in the interests of suppliers and consumers. However, he believes the market is working for consumers who get cheap bananas and makes no suggestions as to how UK regulators will uphold the rights of banana farmers.

Why is the government putting the rights of consumers to cheap food above the rights of banana producers to earn a fair price for their produce? This simply isn’t good enough when 75% of banana workers in Ecuador currently do not earn a living wage, and many of them live below the poverty line.

On top of that, our survey says that UK consumers don’t want these price wars carried out ‘in their name.’ A massive 84% of consumers across the UK are willing to pay more for their bananas if the extra benefits farmers and workers’ lives, and 60% of consumers believe the government should step in to ensure supermarkets sell bananas at a price so producers can earn a decent living.

We need to pile the pressure on Vince Cable as much as we can ahead of World Fair Trade Day on May 10th to make our voices heard loud and clear.

What can you do to help?

If you have ONE minute: please sign and share our petition to make bananas fair and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

If you have FIVE minutes: contact your MP by letter asking him or her to write to Vince Cable calling on him to protect banana farmers and workers like Foncho. Download the template letter here, fill in the highlighted gaps and pop it in the post to your local MP. (We know that signed letters posted to MPs from constituents are more likely to get a reply than emails)

Thank you for everything you have done and continue to do - together we will make bananas fair.

Jonathan Smith & Kevin McCullough
Heads of Campaigns, Fairtrade Foundation

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