KEEPING YOU UP TO DATE
Read our latest press releases and announcements to see what’s happening at AgroFair.
Statement about banana disease discovery in Peru (Foc TR4)
This week AgroFair was startled by the news that a first case of the banana fungal disease Fusarium oxysporum spp cubense Tropical Race 4 (Foc TR4) has been identified in Peru. Fusarium is a large family of fungi that occurs all over the world and affects many crops. Foc specialises in bananas. Foc TR4 is a mutant that is the first to be able to attack the Cavendish banana. The Cavendish banana is the dominant export banana introduced because of its resistance to earlier Foc variants.
FoC TR4 is already widely present in Asia and Africa, was first found in Colombia last year and has now been found in Peru. AgroFair sources large quantities of organic bananas from Peru. The cultivation of these bananas is not immediately at risk.
The affected plantation has now been completely isolated and measures have been taken to protect other plantations against the introduction of the fungus. A package of phytosanitary measures, as specified in the TR4 supplement to the GlobalGAP standard, has been taken. The bananas themselves are not infected with the fungus. It only reaches the roots and stem of the banana from the soil.
No curative treatment of plantations affected by TR4 is possible. Isolation and protection of healthy plantations is the only remedy. AgroFair has therefore already started training and informing producers a number of years ago. AgroFair also chairs the Task Force TR4 of the World Banana Forum. AgroFair has also urged the Peruvian authorities to take strong, collective measures throughout the cultivation area, and has offered help in further mapping possible contaminations.
Our local team in Peru is intensifying the training of farmers through an online training programme.
Several universities are working on resistant banana varieties. It is hoped that this will eventually provide a solution. However, there is a chance that the characteristics of such a resistant banana, such as shape and taste, will be different from what we are used to now.
Another possible solution would be to grow Cavendish bananas in a low-density set-up in combination with other plants and trees. In such an arrangement, the susceptibility of the plants seems to be lower. However, the cost price of such bananas will be substantially higher, much closer to the integral ecological and social costs (True Cost).
We do not expect any change in the supply of Peruvian bananas in the coming months. We expect that the started policy to prevent the spread of the fungus in the production area will be successful. We are therefore counting on being able to buy high-quality organic bananas from Peru for many years to come.
In the meantime, we also have supplies of organic bananas from Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic.
Please read more about our AgroFair project: ‘TR4: A WAKE-UP CALL FOR THE BANANA FOOD SYSTEM‘
AgroFair extends additional Covid payment to banana producers
The Dutch producer-owned sustainable banana importer AgroFair, know of the Oké banana, extends its voluntary additional payment to cover Covid-csoss of its producers to include all volume supplied in the second semester of 2020. AgroFair took the initiative with a first $ 0.05 per box voluntary payment over the 2nd quarter of 2020, when the effects of the pandemic on the banana suppliers became evident. As a result of the pandemic, banana producers suffered strong obstacles in the production. They had to take measures to protect workers against the risk of infection, suffered costs of failures in the supply of packaging material, and where severely affected by curfews limiting their working hours. This caused in some cases also higher costs of quality claims.
Says Hans-Willem van der Waal, the CEO of AgroFair: “We are happy that we can offer an additional payment to our producers. They have had a difficult time and significantly higher costs. On our side, we have had lower costs. The shipping costs were lower than predicted, because of the strong fall in oils prices since March 2020. Instead of pocketing this advantage, we have decided to share it. The producers have gone to great lengths to guarantee constant supplies, allowing us to serve our customers. At the same time that many companies are just talking about living wages, we decided to do what is in our power. We had hoped other companies would have followed suit.”
AgroFair acknowledges that the voluntary additional payment may not cover all costs producers have related to Covid. However, in a commodity business where margins are very thin, it is still an important gesture.
New Zealand’s Greenest Banana: All Good Bananas, T&G Fresh and AgroFair partner to launch a NZ first.
From February 1 2021, when you choose an All Good banana, it’ll not only be Fairtrade but also certified carbon neutral.
It’s been a year-long project, and everyone has been in on it. From our banana farmers in Ecuador, to our logistics & shipping friends at
AgroFair, to our distributors T&G Fresh. We listened to our expert assessors and we worked and made changes across growing, packing, shipping and transport, ripening and distribution. We paused, for Covid, but we kept going, for the Climate.
“It’s only a banana, but it’s a start” explains co-founder Simon Coley, listing the factors that have helped bring about “New Zealand’s Greenest Banana”. “They may look like other bananas but now All Good Bananas will be Zero Carbon certified as well as Fairtrade, protecting the planet and supporting our grower communities with equitable trade, 30 schools and a medical centre.
All Good is purchasing carbon credits from Climate Partners managing permanent rainforest protection in Madre De Dios, Peru. This is one of the world’s most biodiverse habitats, with numerous threatened plant and animal species, and indigenous tribes. This rainforest is being threatened by large road construction projects between Brazil and Peru and illegal gold mining. This pristine forest is to the south of where our bananas are farmed in Ecuador.
AgroFair pays voluntary Covid-19 compensation premium to its banana growers
AgroFair has decided to pay $ 0.05 per box of bananas as a voluntary contribution to our producers for unexpected costs they have incurred due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “Of course, this is a gesture that cannot compensate all the costs, not to speak of difficult situations and sometimes sorrowful events that have happened. But thanks to the continued efforts of our producers to supply we have been able to satisfy the demand of our customers. In many European countries, the sales of food products in retail shops have increased and bananas are no exception. This is a good way to show solidarity with our producers by sharing across the value chain.”
AgroFair launched the first Fairtrade banana in the world in 1996! Today, the Rotterdam-based importer of fresh bananas, distributes a range of sustainable bananas: Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, organic and/or Demeter certified. The company is partly owned by its suppliers. In this way, cooperative organizations of banana farmers and workers, participate in decision-making and in the value added by the company. AgroFair just published its 2019 Sustainability Report, complying with GRI4 reporting standard.
AgroFair’s founder, the Dutch NGO Solidaridad, sold the last remaining part of its shares in our company
Recently, AgroFair’s founder, the Dutch NGO Solidaridad, sold the last remaining part of its shares in our company. Solidaridad, founder and creator of the Max Havelaar/Fairtrade concept, established AgroFair in 1996 with the sole purpose to bring the Fairtrade or banana on the market. Since then, both the Fairtrade concept and AgroFair, have been hugely successful. The European market share of Fairtrade bananas is around 10%, while AgroFair has grown from humble beginnings to a company selling close to 8 million boxes of Fairtrade and sustainable bananas per year.
Solidaridad took the unique decision to let banana producer organizations participate in the share capital of AgroFair. In this way, farmers in the South participate in the value added in the Northern consumer markets. By the transfer, the farmer shareholders increase their participation in the share capital to well over 40%, whereas ethical investor PPP acquires another part of the shares.
With this move, the unique producer-owned character of AgroFair is reinforced, while AgroFair continues to work with Solidaridad on important themes of social and ecological fairness.
AgroFair zet grote stap naar de werkelijke prijs van bananen met ‘All Good’
Vandaag is het wereld bananendag! Een mooi moment voor de introductie van de duurzaamste banaan met de eerlijkste prijs; de All Good banaan van AgroFair. Hiermee biedt AgroFair de eerste biologische Fairtrade-banaan die een leefbaar loon garandeert én klimaatneutraal is. Daarmee verslaat de All Good banaan iedere andere banaan.
Bananen op de Nederlandse markt steeds duurzamer
AgroFair is een koploper als het gaat om duurzaamheid en eerlijke handel in de bananensector. In 1996 introduceerde AgroFair de allereerste Fairtrade banaan in Nederland en in 2008 volgde de eerste biologische Fairtrade banaan. De afgelopen jaren groeide het aandeel Fairtrade bananen en kwam er meer aandacht voor de ‘werkelijke prijs’ van bananen. In deze werkelijke prijs zijn kosten voor leefbaar loon en klimaatcompensatie meegenomen. Met de introductie van de ‘All Good’ banaan wordt een belangrijke stap gezet naar een nóg duurzamere banaan.
De All Good banaan is uniek
De All Good banaan breidt het concept van de biologische Fairtrade banaan verder uit. Fairtrade biedt een garantieprijs en een premie aan producenten, zodat zij een beter bestaan kunnen opbouwen. All Good gaat nóg een stap verder door leefbaar loon te bieden. Dit geeft een hoger inkomen voor arbeiders en kleine producenten, zodat zij aan armoede kunnen ontsnappen. Bij de productie van biologische bananen wordt geen gebruikt gemaakt van chemische bestrijdingsmiddelen, dit is beter voor het milieu. Daar bovenop worden bij de All Good banaan ook de broeikasgasemissies door productie en transport gecompenseerd. De All Good banaan is dus klimaatneutraal. De All Good banaan wordt geteeld in Ecuador in combinatie met andere gewassen en de natuurlijke omgeving. Zo draagt de All Good banaan bij aan het behoud en herstel van lokale biodiversiteit.
De All Good banaan beschikbaar voor Nederland
AgroFair maakt de All Good banaan beschikbaar voor Nederlandse markt. Het concept voor deze banaan werd ontwikkeld in samenspraak is met diverse maatschappelijke organisaties. Deze organisaties spraken zich recentelijk positief uit over deze volgende stap van AgroFair op weg naar een steeds eerlijkere en duurzamere banaan. Tevens sluit AgroFair zich met deze banaan aan bij de voornemens van de Nederlandse supermarkten zoals vastgelegd in het IMVO convenant levensmiddelen. AgroFair nodigt belangstellende retailers van harte uit om samen te werken en de All Good banaan aan te bieden aan consumenten.