Local Banana Farmers Begin Approval Process for Fairtrade Certification


A number of banana farmers under the Jamaica Producers operation, as well as other small and medium size farmers have commenced the approval process for the Fairtrade certification of local bananas.
This was disclosed by Government Senator Norman Grant in the Upper House on Thursday (May 10). “This will result in an additional premium in the price for bananas entering into the export market once the whole question of fair trade certification is approved,” he said.
Fairtrade certification is a product certification system designed to allow people to identify products which meet agreed environmental, labour and developmental standards. It is overseen by a standard-setting body, Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International, and a certification body, FLO-CERT.
The Fairtrade label therefore signifies that the fruits are produced under environmentally sustainable conditions and in keeping with standards of international labour.
Minister of Agriculture and Lands, Roger Clarke announced during his 2007/08 budget presentation that if the banana industry was to survive the implementation of the full duty free/quota free access to banana markets in the African, Caribbean Pacific states, Jamaica has to do this in the area of fair trade.
“In other words if we can have the necessary certification that we are producing our banana under these conditions, then consumers in the European Union (EU) are willing to pay a premium price. A component of that price will be related to the social and community projects,” he said.
In the meantime Senator Grant also noted that the banana industry provides both direct and indirect income for more than 16,000 rural families.
“The industry has been a significant player in the economy for the parishes of Portland, St. Thomas, St. Mary, Clarendon, St. Catherine, and St. James. One of the areas we should not forget is that we are actually consuming more bananas here in Jamaica than we export,” he said.
Senator Grant also announced that the money earned from the export of bananas has grown from US$4.7 million in 2005 to US$13.4 million in 2006, representing an increase of more than 250 per cent.

JIS Social