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Changes in the Export Bananas Business

In last months article on Genetic Diversity I mentioned the current threat to Cavendish bananas caused by black leaf streak and the loss of native disease resistant varieties. I have since then discovered encouraging examples of small and large plantations shifting to organic growing practices that reduce the environmental and human health damage caused by excessive pesticide use. In addition, some organic growers are instituting fair trade practices that improve the living conditions and general health of plantation workers.

Obviously, sustainability is possible if we are willing to pay a few pennies more for a banana and support those growers dedicated to fair trade practices. In some cases, buying organic alone does not get enough of the money to growers to improve their way of living. The exception is Chiquita Organic Bananas as they have instituted both organic and fair trade practices.

Resources:

Bent Business – Ode Magazine Archive (link)
Bananas produced with respect for people and the environment - they do exist. But they are hard to find in Latin America, in the middle of rampant exploitation and excessive use of chemical pesticides. Ode sent Marco Visscher to Ecuador, the world's largest banana exporter. He learned who is paying the price for cheap bananas - and discovered a more 'tasteful' alternative.

Top Banana – Ode Magazine, Dec. 2006 (link)
When Dave McLaughlin, senior director of environmental affairs for Chiquita, sat down to talk with representatives of the Rainforest Alliance, he did so in secret.

Genetic Diversity - (link)


Darrol Shillingburg
Doña Ana County Extension Master Gardener

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