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Bananas!

Written By: - Date published: 2:08 pm, July 31st, 2010 - 51 comments
Categories: food, workers' rights - Tags:

Kiwis are amongst the highest consumers of bananas per capita in the world but for decades the banana industry has had a record of significant exploitation of workers including slave labour practices, execution of trade union members and a homicidal disregard of basic heath and safety practices. There’s a reason for the term “banana republic”.

Which means it’s been a long time since I ate bananas (despite the fact I really, really like them). But now the local supermarket has finally started stocking fair trade bananas – they taste great, they’re only a dollar more than the bad bananas and it didn’t take systematic oppression of workers to get them there. Highly recommended.

51 comments on “Bananas! ”

  1. joe90 1

    Don’t forget pineapples.

  2. Bill 2

    “…and it didn’t take systematic oppression of workers to get them there.”

    A non capitalist and non market means of production and distribution? Tell me more!

  3. graham 3

    It must be hard be a leftie . Do you guys publish lists of evil products you cant buy
    Me on the other hand i dont give a shit about that stuff i buy on price point and taste
    no stress in my life

    • McFlock 3.1

      because it’s all about you, isn’t it. No concern with the harm you cause. And the difference between you and a street thug is …?

    • felix 3.2

      What do you mean by “evil products” graham?

    • Cnr Joe 3.3

      but you can taste the sweet sweet freedom others suffering affords you – jeez graham types – you make it so easy to despise you – which stresses me out

    • bbfloyd 3.4

      graham… so we can assume moronicy, or simply incurable sociopathy on your part? i don’t like to think of people as simply being obnoxious, thoughtless and selfish through choice.

    • loota 3.5

      I think graham enjoys living life like a self-interested 12 year old. (Apologies to all the neat 12 year olds out there).

    • Roger 3.6

      Yes, ignorance is bliss. Great motto to live by I guess. I personally value being informed and utilizing my conscience. I don’t find that overly stressful but thank you for the concern.

  4. harry 4

    And that’s why I wouldn’t piss on graham if he was on fire.

  5. graham 5

    Bananas were one of the evil products Felix.
    Come on Don’t tell me you dont actually read the posts
    After all the work that eddie put in
    shame on you

  6. toad 6

    Thanks for the tip, Eddie. Like you, I haven’t eaten a banana in years – for exactly the same reason.

    Good to see there is now a choice, just as there is a choice with pork for those of us who want to avoid meat that is produced in cruel and inhumane conditions.

    But, as with bananas, that choice comes at a cost, thanks to the WTO. It is a choice I can afford, but one that people on low incomes or benefits cannot afford.

  7. graham 7

    The fact that union members were shot,exploited,and generaly led miserable lifes makes them taste that much sweeter

  8. graham 8

    Actually i dont have pimples, I shower every day and married to a hot sexy wife unlike most left wing geeks

  9. graham 9

    o dear a spelling mistake its still 8 million
    LMAO

    • harry 9.1

      You mean “oh” and “it’s”. You’re not only too dumb to make 8 million graham, you’re even too dumb to lie about it properly.

  10. graham 10

    I own 980 x/breed cows and my own farm
    my turnover will exceed 2.8 million this year mate
    just because my spelling not as good as your mums dosent mean i dont know how to make money
    I give you a tip on life sonny boy
    Do a SWOT study of yourself then identiy where your skill of being a pompass nit picker can make you money so you can move out of mommys house.
    all my mates make a minimum of 90k a year most of them have to use spellcheck on MSword
    i will tell them that they are or dumbarse liars as well then

    • loota 10.1

      Short man, small **** syndrome

    • harry 10.2

      Here’s some advice for you graham. Stick to your wee moo cows and leave the politics to the grown ups you halfwitted bumpkin.

      • graham 10.2.1

        The left wing view on life
        Only a small group of us so called leaders are cabable of making decisions for everybody.
        Mate its failed time and time again
        Cant wait to the election and see the new election theme
        LEAVE THE POLITICS TO THE GROWN UPS
        thats a vote winner
        LMAO

    • McFlock 10.3

      great – not only does he like the taste of other people’s blood in his food, he’s probably one of *those* dairy farmers who think they have a god-given right to let their cows shit in all the local waterways.

      • graham 10.3.1

        And your proof is??????????
        considering i dont have any waterways on my farm?
        I could say you must be a leftie who dosent have a job or girlfriend

        • McFlock 10.3.1.1

          No waterways on your farm? Not one? You probably irrigate out of boreholes then – many of those are being overused as well…

      • eye saw 10.3.2

        Nah,he’s been leaning on the electric fence,seeing which way the current is going.

  11. Rosy 11

    That’s dumb arse “mate”.

  12. jbanks 12

    Boycotting banana’s! Great way to help someone on a low income get even less.

    • loota 12.1

      What do you care about their incomes anyway? I guess you liked slavery because at least the black folk were provided meals a couple of times a day?

      • jbanks 12.1.1

        Analogy fail.
        People choosing to work, for money, is not slavery.

        • loota 12.1.1.1

          Mate, you’re a slave when you get treated by your employer like a slave. Like expendable, dumb, labour.

          Given that, whether or not you are being paid your $5 a day by the plantation manager is irrelevant, isn’t it?

          • jbanks 12.1.1.1.1

            There’s a world of difference between ‘to work like a slave’ and to be the property of someone else without a choice in to leave.

            Some people are expendable dumb, labour.

            Anti-spam word: meritocracy

  13. flipside 13

    Hope you don’t mind getting back on topic, but I have heard that Banana Split is an excellent documentary about bananas. Here’s a cut and paste of some of the info I was sent about it:

    Banana Split is an award winning film about one of the most popular fruit in the world. The documentary examines the historical, social, economic, scientific and environmental aspects of banana production. Banana Split begins in a grocery store in Canada and takes viewers on a journey to Honduras to see where the fruit comes from. Along the way, Banana Split discusses the history, science and economics of the world’s favourite fruit. The film is both entertaining and educational. It was filmed in Thunder Bay, Toronto, Los Angeles, Montpelier (France) and Tela (Honduras).

    The banana is the cheapest fruit you can buy in Canada at any time of the year and Canadians eat approximately 3 billion bananas a year. In Canadian supermarkets bananas account for over 10% of total sales in the produce section and 1% of total sales. All this despite the fact that the nearest plantation is 5000 kilometres away and the banana is the most perishable fruit on our store shelves…

  14. Comedy 14

    Peanuts !!!!

  15. Jan 15

    Cool bananas!
    Interesting – especially given discussion above – that no-one has ventured to turn the discussion to whether we in NZ live in a milk powder rebublic! I’d argue for that and also for a much stronger mediation policy on The Standard. Life’s too short.
    If I was interested in mysogynistic abuse I could spend my nights listening to talkback radio.
    Cheers

  16. deemac 16

    obvious point about “graham” – if his life is so freaking wonderful – why would he spend so much time on this site???
    some people have empty lives and too much time on their hands (apart from those trolls who are being paid to post here of course)

  17. Lats 17

    I don’t imagine any of us really condone the maltreatment of workers, but we do need to put these things in context. We shouldn’t be comparing the lot of banana plantation workers with that of folk here in NZ, but should instead be asking whether the work on the plantation raises the standard of living compared to other types of work available in their own back yard. It is just possible that the alternative for some of these people is to pick through rubbish dumbs, to steal, and to beg. I refer you to an analysis of sweatshops by Dr Eric Crampton at the University of Canterbury:
    http://offsettingbehaviour.blogspot.com/2009/05/sweatshops.html
    I’d argue the same principle applies for banana workers…

  18. Jenny 18

    The term banana republic is a euphemism for a corrupt, low wage, high unemployment, third world country, in which a tiny minority live well, off an an economy entirely dependent on one single agricultural product.

    Despite the fact that New Zealand is too cold to grow bananas and has had to replace bananas with grass-

    This is the ideal state envisioned and championed by Federated Farmers, put into practice by Fonterra, aided and abbetted by corrupt banksters and financiers, for their cut. And all with the blessing of a compliant right wing government.

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