A COLOMBIAN BANANA FARMER’S representative is coming to Crystal Palace this weekend – to judge banana dishes in Upper Norwood joint library.
But the visit by Alexis Martinez Palacios – being arranged by Crystal Palace Transition Town – also has a far more serious side.
It is to urge people to buy Fairtrade bananas as part of ‘Fairtrade fortnight’ which runs until Sunday March 9th.
Says Lynette Aitken who heads Crystal Palace Transition Town’s local and fair group:
“Shockingly, the UK supermarket sector has almost halved the shelf price of loose bananas in the last 10 years even though the cost of producing bananas has doubled.
“Most supermarkets battle each other every day through a highly-competitive and bitter price war driven by their desire to get more customers into their stores.
“Bananas are now bought and sold so cheaply in the UK that many of the farmers and workers who grow them are being trapped in an increasing cycle of poverty.
“Although Fairtrade bananas still guarantee a fair price to the producer, as well as all the other social and environmental benefits guaranteed by Fairtrade, these are sold by supermarkets at a loss (‘loss leaders’) to keep their prices competitive.
“But two thirds of bananas sold in the UK are still not Fairtrade. “This is why Crystal Palace Transition Town is asking people not only to buy Fairtrade bananas but also to sign a petition persuading the government to end these unfair practices.”
Alexis, a former banana plantation worker who now represents the interests of banana producers in Latin America and the Caribbean to Fairtrade International, the global umbrella organization for Fairtrade, will be judging your banana dishes and handing out prizes in the library on Saturday March 1st from 3.30pm. Say CPTT: “Get your cook’s hats on and start unzipping!.
“You’ll find some recipe ideas at: foncho.fairtrade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Fairtrade-Fortnight-2014-Fairtrade-Recipes.pdf…. or you can make up your own.”
If you’d like to participate in the banana recipe competition please email firstname.lastname@example.org so CPTT can get an idea of how many people to expect, and bring them along to Upper Norwood library covered in cling film (that’s your recipe, not the library) between 2pm and 3pm on March 1st.
As well as participating in the library event, Alexis will also be attending CPTT’s ‘Hungry Gap’ dinner at Domali restaurant on Sunday March 9th. This is a repeat of last year’s popular event where a three course meal, wine and cocktails were all produced using only locally grown and Fairtrade ingredients. Cost: £25 (including wine, beer or soft drink with meal and tea or coffee with chocolates)
Programme of events:
Thursday February 27th – Film night with Fairtrade wine, rum and nibbles at the Antenna Cafe Thing (Haynes Lane) at 7.30 pm
Saturday March 1st – the ever-popular bicycle-powered Fairtrade smoothies outside Sainsburys, Westow Street 10 am-1 pm
Saturday March 1st – Children’s stories 2.30 pm-3.30 pm followed by Alexis and recipe judging till 4.30 pm at the library
Saturday March 8th – Fairtrade stall offering a range of products at the Food Market, Haynes Lane (10 am to 3 pm)
Sunday March 9th – Hungry Gap dinner at Domali restaurant, with Alexis 7.30 pm (booking details to come)
THESE EVENTS will be used to publicise a nationwide ‘Stick with Foncho’ campaign and to gather signatures for the petition to Vince Cable, secretary of state for business.
Nationally the Fairtrade Fortnight will feature Albeiro Alfonso “Foncho” Cantillo, a 43-year-old banana farmer from Colombia whose livelihood depends on the small banana farm he inherited from his father
Foncho is coming to the UK this Fairtrade Fortnight with a message. ‘Stick with the farmers who grow your bananas’. His face will be seen on stickers and posters all over the country as part of a ‘Stick with Foncho’ campaign.
The ‘Stick with Foncho’ campaign (part of the Fairtrade Foundation’s three year ‘Make Food Fair’ campaign) aims to transform the banana industry so that every banana farmer and worker earns enough to have a decent standard of living, works in conditions that are safe and has rights and benefits. It also means bananas are produced in a way that is environmentally sustainable too.
(see short video and further info at foncho.fairtrade.org.uk) and http://foncho.fairtrade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Stick-with-Foncho-petition-form.pdf )
For Fairtrade facts and figures see foncho.fairtrade.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/FactsStats_2014.pd