Bananas, Coffee, and Deserts Canadian & World Issues
Bananas, Coffee, and Deserts • Fair Trade • Banana Farming • Coffee Producers • Desertification in the Sahel
Fair Trade • Coffee from Kenya, textiles from India, tea from Sri Lanka, nuts from El Salvador, ceramics from Mexico, and chocolate from Ghana… • Many of the things we buy are grown or made in developing countries. • But do the people who produce these goods get a fair price for them, and what are their working conditions like?
Fair Trade • For most workers, wages are low, there is no job security, and working conditions are often unhealthy and unsafe. • When the goods they produce are traded for high prices, it is not they who benefit. • So what can we do to help these people to get a fair reward for their labour? One answer is to buy goods that are produced and sold by fair trade organizations.
Fair Trade • Fair trade is an international system of doing business based on dialogue, transparency, and respect. It contributes to sustainable development by offering better trading conditions for producers and workers in developing countries. • Behind the principles and goals of Fair Trade is rigorous international system of monitoring, auditing, and certification.
Fair Trade • The international Fair Trade system is structured to produce the following outcomes for farmers and workers in developing countries: • Fair compensation for their products and labour • Sustainable environmental practices • Improved social services • Investment in local economic infrastructure
Fair Trade • Flaws with the International Fair Trade system: • Removing the middle man between the producer (farmer) and the market (ie Starbucks) • Fixed artificial price does nothing to compensate for the dynamics that actually influence a foreign farmer's purchasing power • Price is a subsidy, which causes market distortion leading to overproduction • Fair Trade guarantees a minimum price to cooperatives of producers, not individualfarmers or workers
Banana Farming Banana republic is a pejorative term for describing a country with a non-democratic or unstable government, especially where there is widespread political corruption and strong foreign influence. It was originally applied to countries whose economies were largely dependent on bananas for much of the 20th century. • Nicaragua • Northern Australia • Costa Rica • Kenya • Windward Islands • Kenya • Tanzania • Honduras • Philippines • Thailand • India
Banana Farming • Growing bananas is hard work. It takes months to clear the land, dig holes and put in banana plants. After about six months, the banana fruit begins to appear. At an early stage the growing bananas are wrapped in blue plastic. This stops the fruit from getting damaged. It also protects the fruit against pesticides that are sprayed on the plants.
Banana Farming • After nine months, the bananas are harvested using a sharp knife. Bananas are still green when they are picked. They grow in clusters, which are known as 'hands'. A hand consists of 10 to 20 bananas, also called fingers.
Banana Farming • Bananas are washed and labelled before being put into boxes. Bananas are boxed on the banana farms where they are produced. This prevents them getting bruised.
Banana Farming • Bananas are taken from the farm to a warehouse in a truck. At the warehouse they are inspected and sorted. Buyers of fruit in the UK want unbruised bananas and so very high standards are set. If the bananas do not meet these standards they are sold locally at a much lower price. After the inspection the boxes are closed and weighed.
Banana Farming • Bananas take six days to get from the Windward Islands, a small group of islands in the southern part of the Caribbean Sea, to the UK. They are stored in the ship's hold which is refrigerated at 13.3°C. This cool temperature prevents them from ripening. When the bananas reach the UK they are ripened in special centres and then sent to the shops.
Coffee Producers • Coffee is the second most valuable traded commodity globally - after oil, yet we producer countries are amongst the world's poorest. Is this fair trade? • For coffee producers, this is so much more than being an issue of charity – it’s one of justice. • World production of beans can be broken down: • 65% Central and South America • 25% Asia/Pacific • 10% Africa
Coffee Producers • The Americas: Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Equador, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Jamaica • Asia: Indonesia, Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam, India • Africa: Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda, Côte D'Ivoire
Coffee Producers • Read “Waking Up to World Coffee Crisis” and answer the questions that follow it. • Also available online: • “Facts About the Daily Grind” • “Bitter Coffee: How the Poor are Paying for the Slump in Coffee Prices” • Read the brochure “Discover Fair Trade Certified Coffee” to see what can be done about the coffee crisis.
Desertification in the Sahel • Desertification is the destruction of the biological activity of the land that eventually leads to desert-like conditions • 40% of the surface of the earth is either a desert or under desertification. • Caused by deforestation, climate change, huge population growth, over-farming, and grazing.
Desertification in the Sahel • The Sahel is the boundary zone in Africa between the Sahara to the north and the more fertile region to the south, known as the Sudan (not to be confused with the country of the same name) SAHARA SAHEL SUDAN
Desertification in the Sahel • Sahel • Roughly a 500-km wide band in Sub-Saharan Africa. • Includes Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Chad. • Sudan and Ethiopia can also be considered as part of this band. • Rainfall is scarce in the northern part of the band, permitting only grazing. • Entire region is vulnerable because of the potential for desertification • this potential for desertification can be increased by climate change and human use
Desertification in the Sahel • The Sahel is primarily savanna and runs from the Atlantic Ocean to the Horn of Africa, changing from semi-arid grasslands to thorn savanna.
Desertification in the Sahel • Using the Sahel • Local farmers have been herding in the Sahel for thousands of years, sustainably. • By keeping their herds moving, they ensure a food supply for their herds, and a life for themselves, in an area where neither could have existed before. • They follow traditional herding routes, where food supplies exist. As grazing land becomes scarce, they move on. • A relatively new problem in Africa, though, is geopolitical.
Desertification in the Sahel • Pre-Colonial Tribal Boundaries in Africa
Desertification in the Sahel • Today’s Political Boundaries in Africa • Now, when grazing land crosses an imaginary political boundary, nomadic herders must stop, where they used to continue on.