The Co-operative was the first UK supermarket to sell Fairtrade bananas in 2000.
In Fairtrade Fortnight 2012, we announced the conversion of 100% of our bananas to Fairtrade, with a unique sourcing model demonstrating an unrivalled commitment to source all of these from co operatives, with half of the fruit being supplied by smallholder farmers.
We've also gone beyond Fairtrade to support co-operatives of banana producers in Panama and Dominican Republic.
COOBANA Co-operative - Panama
COOBANA is a co-operative of 320 banana workers within a community of some 4,500 people. Having been tied into a contract for a number of years, COOBANA began to look to convert its operations to Fairtrade.
We supported this process, paying a premium before Fairtrade certification was finalised in 2010. Since then, we’ve invested in a three-year project to improve access to clean water, sanitation and low-cost fuel efficient cooking stoves.
Additional assistance was given to help strengthen the co-operative further, through technical training for the members. The hope is that COOBANA will be transformed into an international co-operative business.
Banelino Co-operative - Dominican Republic
We supported the smallholder banana producers of Banelino co-operative in the Dominican Republic with capacity building and training to improve the productivity and quality of bananas and to diversify into additional crops to help provide additional sources of income.
We also supported Banelino to establish a training school for young people to help secure long-term sustainability of small-scale banana farming in the region.