An edifying report !
Information reported below follows upon the diffusion of excellent documentary “Bananas with forced mode ", of Didier Fassion, on the chain France O on January 15, 2009
Fruit more consumed and more exported in the world, the banana is the subject of a terrible commercial war between the United States and Europe. The first control 85% of the market, through powerful multinationals (Chiquita, Dole…) controlling (and how…) the whole of the die, the production in Latin America until the distribution. Europe historically privileges the European and ACP banana (Africa, Caraïbian, Pacific), which finds its origins in the colonial past of several of its countries. Protectionism on a side, complaints with OMC of the other… At all events, the average price of this fruit on the stalls is 1€ 60 (against 2€ 40 for apple of our orchards), and this in spite of the thousands of traversed kilometers, the extremely expensive “treatments ”… Seek the error !
YOU SAID MONOCULTURE ?
A variety. I had never paid attention to it but, the world market of banana was organized around one only variety, the “Cavendish”. More than a thousands of different varieties exist, but only one is raised because all is grade for it : equipment of conditioning, cuts cardboards boxes, containers of boat… It is explained us learnedly that it would be “very complicated” to open the market with other varieties. Here is for the biodiversity !
DISTRIBUTION OF THE SELLING PRICE
For paid bananas 1€ here in our stores, 43cts goes to the distribution, 43cts with the importer, 10cts with the producer and… 2cts with collecting. One begins to dream : and if it were enough to increase 2cts the price of banana to double the wages of these poor people ? Alas, when the price of the banana fluctuates, let us put 10cts, one cans bet that the wages of the poor devil in the plantation, which works 10 hours per day, ruin its health and risks its life if there syndicates will remain hopelessly stuck to the SMIC in Martinique, and to 400$ in Costa-Rica.
Another data : in Martinique, between 5 and 7kg of pesticides, a year per ha, are pours out each week on the plantations ! Apparently, nothing compared with the immense red banana plantations “dollar”, exploited by some American multinationals, of which the hundreds of hectares receive 10 times this amount. One leaves you think the state brooks and river , the impact of this scandal on fauna, the biodiversity (in countries sanctuaries like Costa Rica) and, one imagines it without sorrow, at the end of the chain on human health.
WHAT TO MAKE ?
Of course (it is a french documentary don't forget it), one would be in french small good tempted to immediately take the defense of banana of Martinique… But is this so simple ? As elsewhere, this culture pollutes. As elsewhere, one yielded to monoculture. As elsewhere, if the market catches cold (for example, if Europe is finally obliged to lower its tariff barriers) the population will sink in misery…
To consume some any more is not a solution. What would become these countries, whose very whole economy rests on the culture of this fruit ?
All that especially encourages to cultivate its garden, to buy local, to reassure itself on the limitation of the chemical treatments and a distribution righter of the richnesses. And if time with others the desire of a banana takes to you, buy-there (expensive…) in equitable trade. You will not have guarantee on its quality, but you will know at least that for a bought box, 1$ is transferred in the form of development aid with the local populations.