Influence of multinationals in banana trade declines: FAO

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UN Photo/Logan Abassi

The influence of multinational companies in the banana trade has decreased dramatically, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

The organization says that the market share of the three largest banana traders, Chiquita, Dole and Del Monte has dropped from almost two-thirds in the 1980s to slightly over one third in 2013.

Ekaterina Krivonos, an Economist at the Trade and Markets Division of FAO says the control of the banana market has shifted from the big companies to supermarkets and large retail chains.

She says one reason for this change is that transport has become cheaper.

"Before, banana trade was mostly done through specialized transport owned by the multinationals. Today, practically anybody can hire container transport to get their bananas out of the banana-producing regions to the consuming countries. And, on the other hand, what happened was that for the past twenty years the big multinational banana companies have been withdrawing themselves from production and concentrating their efforts on logistics, ripening and marketing."(28")

The FAO economist says although players in the banana trade are becoming diversified, retailers now have more power over production and marketing.

At the same time, she adds, as consumers become more informed and want to buy organic and what she calls "ethical bananas", there are more opportunities for growers.

Daniel Dickinson, United Nations

Duration: 1'30"

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