Banana yes dumping no

Health Nutrition Detoxification Not buying them is no solution either. Nevertheless, with every banana you participate in a ruinous rat race

Banana yes dumping no

The greener the plantain, the more unripe, the more suitable for hearty foods

Becoming aware of something, that usually starts quite harmless. This tip of the week ignited from an interview with a Harvard professor, for example. Daniel Lieberman racks his brains about "why we take such lousy care of ourselves and our planet". He calls it "the caveman's dilemma". His thesis: We remain at the same level of development as cavemen, but live in cities. Drive control has priority, bloody meat and sweet bananas are available in the supermarket, but to correctly assess the risks of a complex world in the long run, we lack the horizon (link below).

On the silly side

Greg Hanscom, who interviews Lieberman for the American environmental magazine grist, is interested in something completely different, however: "Are you into paleo??" This sounds a bit like, "Are you one of us?" – "Not really," Lieberman responds. "I think, to be honest, it is a bit on the silly side."There's a point: even the Stone Age diet has to contend with major and minor contradictions, especially in the field of satiating carbohydrates. Because grains, bread and pasta are forbidden, but our bodies crave them, northern European Paleo fans like to resort to tropical sources of starch. On yams and cassava, for example, or even on plantains. And already part two of the awareness ignites. This time the inspiration comes in the form of a munchies article. Its title, "Plantains – why they're cheap for everyone except the pickers" (link below).

Banana yes dumping no

Aggressive dumping

Now the research starts and once again we carefree consumers are confronted with unpleasant facts. One study published last year by OXFAM is particularly illuminating. "Cheap bananas – who pays the price?"The role that Aldi in particular plays in the banana trade is illuminated. According to the authors of the study, all other large supermarket chains are guided by the discounter's prices. In the UK in particular, banana prices have really crashed. Since the beginning of 2014, Aldi and the Black Group (Lidl, Kaufland) have been conquering the English market and putting prere on the comparatively fair supermarket chain Tesco. Statutory minimum prices in Ecuador are undermined by unfair practices: Buyers transfer the invoice with the minimum price ($6.22 for 43 pounds), but first have the seller write a check for the difference to the actual negotiated price.

Banana yes dumping no

For crispy chips: Briefly deep-fry plantains in hot fat – very delicious

Rat race to the bottom

Small and medium-sized plantations that are not owned by or contractually bound to producers such as Dole or Chiquita are left behind. "When exporters offer only $1.50 to $2, I prefer not to sell the fruit at all, because the cost of harvesting and packaging is higher. Then I compost the bananas and make high losses," the owner of a medium-sized banana production facility is quoted as saying. Because the rat race to the bottom cannot be won, many small farms in South America have switched to the more lucrative palm oil or cocoa plantations. But this costs valuable jobs: one job is created for every hectare of banana cultivation, whereas only one worker per 10 hectares is needed for a palm oil plantation. The study also answers the question of who earns what from bananas. Least of all the workers. In the banana value chain, their wages are 6.7%, with retailers at the other end of the chain earning the most at 34.6. In between, producers (6.1%), exporters (5.5%) , importers (23.9%), customs (11.8%), wholesalers and ripeners (11.4%) still profit.

Make fruit fair!

What to do? Not buying bananas is not the answer. The plantations care in South America. Africa after all for (low-paying) jobs. Fair trade bananas are a step forward. Although, given the one dollar that fair traders add, you don't really get happy either. Some certifications, such as those emblazoned on discount organic bananas, are not to be trusted: the banana giant Dole, for example, bought its certifier outright, and Chiquita has been working closely with the Rainforest Alliance for around 15 years, which means that it is more dependent than independent. Apart from the greenwashing of Lidl, Edeka and Rewe, the campaign "make fruit fair" seems to contribute most to a deeper understanding of the ie. Supported by OXFAM, the Banana Fair trade union and a number of non-governmental development organizations. So if you're looking for information like this before your next banana purchase, "85% of pesticides applied by airplane do not end up on the plants of the plantations, but on the surrounding land, people, houses and fields," click here/slash supermarkets!

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