French retailer Carrefour is supporting a Fairtrade/Max Havelaar project aimed at encouraging eco-friendly agricultural practices and the promotion of gender equality in the organic fair trade banana sector.
The project has gathered funding of €1 million with assistance from the French Development Agency and Carrefour, and will help 11 cooperatives in Peru and the Dominican Republic.
With a growth of 9% in sales in 2019 worldwide, and 4% in France in 2020, fair trade and organic bananas are evolving into an in-demand product, the retailer noted.
The Fairtrade/Max Havelaar project aims to guarantee better working and living conditions for growers by securing a minimum price and developing strict specifications on sustainable agricultural practices, as well as other measures.
Bananas represent the largest market share owned by a Fairtrade product in France (12%), with 84,000 tonnes sold in 2020, while coffee only accounted for 4%.
François Vincent, food merchandise director, Carrefour France, commented, "Today 1 in 3 bananas bought from us is fair trade. We want to take a new step by adding a project that acts more upstream of production to offer a sustainable future to producers who are facing major challenges, in particular the effects of climate change."
Climate change is one of the threats facing banana producers and this project hopes to provide solutions.
In addition, previous intensive use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides has led to a decrease in soil fertility, biodiversity, and increased vulnerability to certain pests.
In order to keep banana production consistent, these threats will need to be addressed by improving soil fertility, using organic inputs, and the diversification of cultivation practices to increase productivity in a sustainable manner.
Among the concrete actions of the collaborative projects, the construction of bio-input micro-factories and the implementation of diversification field schools are planned, Carrefour added.
The project will also oversee the training of women and young people to promote their autonomy and allow them to take greater responsibilities in cooperatives and communities.