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Project information

Keeping banana farming alive in the Caribbean

Banana farmers in the Caribbean have been hard hit by EU trading reforms, which threaten the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and their families. By developing a local market for Fairtrade products and developing the skills of local farmers, this project will protect them against this risk.

August 2010 - June 2011

Charity information: The Fairtrade Foundation

The Fairtrade Foundation logo
  • Need


    Banana farmers in the Windward Islands in the Caribbean have been supplying the UK and Europe with delicious Fairtrade bananas for over 10 years. In return they have received a fair and stable minimum price plus a 'premium' to invest in schools, hospitals and other projects for their local communities. In December 2009, the EU overturned its historic trading agreement with Caribbean banana farmers, threatening thousands of livelihoods and making the local economy even more vulnerable to drugs.


    This project will reverse some of the damage done by new EU trading laws, by helping small-scale farmers in the Caribbean to develop their own, local Fairtrade market. This will create new opportunities for them to sell their fruit, making them less reliant on trade with the EU, as well as develop their business skills so that one day they might realise their dream of running Fairtrade Tourism in the region. It will also bring them closer to their consumers and promote Fairtrade in the region.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Ensure the future sustainability and livelihoods of local Fairtrade banana farming communities.


    » Develop a Fairtrade market in the region through partnerships with local businesses, suppliers and retailers, through promotional tours and events.
    » Develop awareness and enthusiasm for Fairtrade among the public and local consumers, to raise demand for Fairtrade products and help build the market.

    What success will look like

    Success here, over the lifetime of the project, will be demonstrable progress towards securing local partners who can help create a vibrant & profitable market for Fairtrade goods.

    Aim 2

    Develop the business skills of local farmers, to run their own market and expand into new areas.


    » Provide training and support, from Fairtrade staff in the UK and globally, in areas such as marketing, promotion, campaigning and business management.
    » Create strong links with local partners who can help develop skills beyond the lifetime of this project, towards their dream of Fairtrade Tourism.

    What success will look like

    Success here will be a number of successful training schemes for banana farmers who are implementing the project, developing new skills & identifying future areas for improvement.

    Aim 3

    Create a blue-print for local, farmer-run Fairtrade markets that can be replicated globally.


    » Conduct careful monitoring and evaluation of how the project is implemented, including activities, targets, strategies and learning points.
    » Be flexible to opportunities for similar projects in other regions, where an additional income is needed for Fairtrade farmers.

    What success will look like

    Success here will be careful monitoring and recording of the process as it takes place, which will be used later to develop a coherent plan for future projects to follow.

  • Impact


    Our hope is that this project will allow banana farmers to continue providing for themselves and their families with dignity, maintaining and perhaps increasing the income and development they have achieved during their long history of supplying the EU, thus mitigating the threat that drugs - the region's second largest industry - do not take a firmer hold of the local economy. We will measure success through sales of Fairtrade products locally and the income and premium paid back to farmers.


    There is a risk that Fairtrade will not take off successfully in the region. This risk is lessened by the fact that Fairtrade Labelling Organisations International (FLO) and the Fairtrade Foundation (FTF) have a long history of developing Fairtrade markets in other countries and regions. There is also the fact that the Caribbean has millions of overseas tourists every year, many of them from Europe, already familiar with and loyal to the FAIRTRADE Mark. This will provide a base-line for sales


    We have strong connections with the major Fairtrade farming association in the Caribbean, WINFA (Windward Islands Farmers Association). Both FTF and WINFA will be keeping detailed reports of progress & WINFA will provide a full report at the end of the project, which will be shared with donors.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £26,411

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £16,537 Personnel Travel, subsistence and salary costs for WINFA personnel carrying out promotional and awarenesscosts
      £6,889 Training Communication, marketing, business development training for WINFA personnel.
      £2,985 Equipment and materialsent Posters, computers, telephone lines etc.

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Fairtrade Foundation £11,000 Guaranteed
    The Morel Trust £2,000 Guaranteed
    The Triodos Foundation £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The majority of banana farmers live and work in the Windward Islands, in the Lesser Antilles group of islands in the Eastern Caribbean. They are made up of four independent nation states: St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, and Dominica, all former British colonies. The area is poor and under-invested by the US. WINFA was established in 1982 to promote the social and economic welfare of small-scale farmers and advocate on behalf in the face of diminishing returns for their produce.


    Of the remaining banana growers in the Windward Islands approximately 3,400 are members of Fairtrade groups, approx 29% women. With more than 85% of all bananas grown in the Windward Islands now Fairtrade certified, it is only access to Fairtrade markets that has enabled the industry to survive. The Fairtrade premium represents the only real investment in the area; recently projects include income diversification schemes, school bursaries, health facilities and pensions for retired farmers.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    The Fairtrade Foundation, founded in 1992 out of the 'trade not aid' movement, has become one of the most successful social change stories in recent times, supporting 7 million farmers and their families to achieve fairer lives and futures. We have a unique network of committed individuals and companies, and in depth knowledge of how to use trade to enable people to work their way out of poverty. We have been working in the Caribbean for over 10 years and closely with the farmers there for 15.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Nioka Abbott

    Nioka has been a banana farmer for 23 years & as secretary of the St Vincent National Fairtrade Committee will have a key role in driving the project.

    Cornelius Lynch

    Cornelius is a banana farmer from St Lucia and as head of the St Lucia National Fairtrade Organisation will also have a key role in the project.

    Chris Davis

    Chris is the Director of Producer Partnerships at the Fairtrade Foundation and will be overseeing the project and facilitating training & support.


    A new Business Development Manager will be recruited from local farmers, to help drive the project and oversea activities in the Caribbean.