Thousands of EU citizens want to see an end to the systematic labour exploitation that underpins many of the third country banana and pineapple shipments sold in Europe. There is less than a month left for supporters to top up the signatures on the Make Fruit Fair! online petition that will be delivered to the European Commission in June.
“Bananas are the most traded fruit in the world,” campaign organiser Jacqui Mackay told ARC. “The international pineapple trade is expanding rapidly too: one in two pineapples is now grown for export.”
When Jacqui presents her campaign in Europe, she has to make it clear that multiple retailers have the whip hand in any discussion of the food trade. “I have to start by reminding people that supermarkets earn billions in profits: they can afford to pay fair prices for producers.”
Cheaply-priced food comes with a cost, Jacqui explains: “Just because these crops are grown in third countries, doesn’t mean that Europe can ignore abuses. That is why we are going to Brussels.”
On June 20 Make Fruit Fair! campaigners will be in the Belgian capital to present their petition to the European Commission. Among those attending will be trade union leader Iris Munguia, Coordinator of COLSIBA (Latin American Coordination of Banana & Other Agro Industrial Product Worker Unions), who will be explaining the scale of the problem.