Dear Fairtrade friend,
It’s been 2 months since I visited the UK to represent banana farmers from Colombia and spread the word about the Fairtrade Foundation’s campaign to make bananas fair. I am thrilled that the petition has over 70,000 signatures and the campaign has the support of 56 MPs. It amazes me now, just as it did when I visited you, how supporters of Fairtrade push the movement forward with so much power. These actions have a huge impact for me and other banana producers.
My biggest reflection from my visit is how you received me like a member of your own family, and how passionate you all were about Fairtrade.
However, Fairtrade Fortnight was only the beginning of the journey to make bananas fair. The price wars that continue to rage between retailers in the UK are damaging the livelihoods of thousands of farmers like me. I’ve heard that the UK’s Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, supports Fairtrade’s work broadly but believes the market is currently working for consumers who get cheap bananas. My message to him is simple: what about us, the farmers and workers who grow bananas? I want to stress the importance of protecting producers: we work incredibly hard all year round to grow the UK’s favourite fruit. We deserve a fair price for our bananas.
My friends at the Fairtrade Foundation handed in the petition to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills a couple of weeks ago, you can watch the short video of the hand-in above.
Please continue to support me, and thousands like me, by asking for and buying Fairtrade bananas. We’ll be in touch soon with how you can go further to make bananas fair.
All the best,
Albeiro Alfonso ‘Foncho’ Cantilla Ruiz, Colombian banana farmer