Sourcing Fairtrade bananas
Bananas are grown by small-scale farmers and plantation workers in tropical regions. They are the staple food for millions of people across the world and the favourite fruit in our grocery basket.
Bananas are grown on small family farms and much larger commercial plantations. The banana industry provides employment for thousands of people in Latin America, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and West Africa. It generates vital foreign exchange earnings that governments depend on to improve health, education, infrastructure and other social services.
The Windward Islands in the West Indies for example, traditionally earn around a fifth of their total export earnings from bananas alone. For Ecuador and Costa Rica, the figures are around 9 and 8% respectively. In addition, the industry employs thousands of people in distribution networks and supermarkets worldwide.
Waitrose & Partners 100% Fairtrade banana supply
In 2007 Waitrose became the first supermarket in the UK to sell Fairtrade bananas exclusively. This was a natural move for us to make, building on the long-term relationships we have with our banana producers.
As a result, the number of ethically sourced bananas in the UK increased by 10%. This had a big impact on our small holder farmers in the Windward Islands, where we've been trading for over 50 years, as the Fairtrade premium allowed farmers to address the social, economic and environmental challenges they face in their local communities.
And as part of our ongoing trading relationship, the Waitrose & Partners agronomy group invests in research and development in sourcing countries to better understand the issues surrounding sustainable agriculture and collaborate with our producers to improve technical standards and social wellbeing.