Equifruit has been importing Fairtrade-certified and organic bananas since 2007 and …mmmmmmmm YUM, are they good! We sell these premium bananas wholesale to large retailers and through a distribution network, in standard 40lb cases. If you’re wondering what 40lbs of bananas look like, think approximately 100 bananas or 20 bunches. (Did you know that bunches of bananas are called hands, and individual fruit are fingers? So 1 case = +/- 20 hands of bananas).
People say that organic bananas are a little sweeter and taste creamier than conventional bananas, but we’re in it for that sweet taste of social justice! We are importing Cavendish bananas – but we’re often asked for other varieties (plantains, baby bananas, red bananas). It’s tricky to move specialty varieties, but if there’s sufficient demand, we’re in – so speak to your retailer, then speak to us.
We’ve worked in the past with a wonderful Mexican cooperative on these fruit – though the programme is on pause at the moment (December 2016) due to pricing challenges. Read more about our partners Pragor below!
Equifruit has been working with the Asociación de Pequeños Productores de Banano Organico de Saman y Anexos (APPBOSA) since our beginnings in 2007. They are cooperative of 400 small producers farming collectively a mere 600 hectares of land in northwest Peru.
APPBOSA’s members gained their land through agrarian reform measures in the 1980s. They were growing cotton at the time, but there was only one customer: the former landowning family who still controlled all aspects of the commercial process. In the late 90s, some of these producers decided to convert their crops to bananas, as opportunities for Fairtrade production became available. APPBOSA was founded in January, 2003 with 108 small producer members, with the objective to export exclusively organic and Fairtrade-certified bananas. They achieved Fairtrade certification in May 2003 and Control Union organic certification, and haven’t looked back since.
Fairtrade has given some measure of independence to these marginalized producers, and the Fairtrade premium has had a significant impact on their working conditions and their communities. They have invested in such things as a cable system to facilitate the transportation of banana bunches to centralized packing houses, as well as numerous projects in local schools and health centres. More on this impact through stories on our blog!
In 2016, Equifruit started working with the El Guabo Association of Small Producers, a cooperative located in El Oro province in southwestern Ecuador. El Guabo’s members produce both conventional and organic Cavendish bananas and banana purée, all produced under Fairtrade conditions.
El Guabo was formed in 1998 with just 14 members and has since grown into a farmer-run cooperative working 1480 hectares of land by 320 small-scale producers and their 430 workers. Through the sale of Fairtrade-certified bananas in international markets, they have grown from marginalized growers into a self-run democratic organization. With the $1 USD/case social premium they receive through the Fairtrade pricing system, El Guabo is working in its local communities with programs in education, health care, senior citizens, environmental projects and infrastructure improvements. Read more about one of their producers in our launch blog post “We Are Fruit People”.
Productores Agrícolas Orgánicos (PRAGOR) or “Organic Agricultural Producers” is a cooperative of small producers located in Michoacán, Mexico. Formed in 2005, they started selling 100% organic and Fairtrade fruit in 2006. Though 90% of their production is in avocados, they have grown to include grapefruit, mangoes and small quantities of other exotic fruit. They are committed to supplying the North American and European market with quality fruit, but doing so with the health and safety of their workers and the environment as a top concern.
Equifruit began working with PRAGOR in late 2014, with a few containers of avocadoes & grapefruits for the Ontario & Quebec market. We hope to grow our partnership with them in 2016!