LatAm banana groups seek clarification from Rainforest Alliance

LatAm banana groups seek clarification from Rainforest Alliance

Latin American banana producers and exporters have called for a meeting with chiefs of the Rainforest Alliance (RFA) after the certifier reportedly refused to participate in dialogue over the 2020 certification program.

Groups from key banana-growing countries last Friday called for a tripartite roundtable with main European retailers and the RFA to "reach a common position that would put an end to the conflict over new certification standards", which were introduced earlier this year.

The banana groups - representing Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica -said in a release that guilds and retailers had agreed that the RFA has the obligation to define the concept of Shared Responsibility, as well as creating a specific committee for its development, composed by representatives of
producers and retail groups.

The publication of the RFA’s new standards for its 2020 certification program provoked outrage among Latam banana producers. Many felt that there were “irregularities” in the standard-setting process and that the RFA failed to take into consideration market realities as well as the challenges faced by the banana industry in individual regions. 

As a result of the outcry, a general meeting was held on July 16 between the RFA and Latin American growers and exporters, in which the countries called on the association to clarify the consultation process used in setting the new standards.

Since then, the RFA website says that the alliance has held several additional meetings with banana sector organizations and farms, in addition to making adjustments to their 2020 certification program based on the feedback it’s received.

However, the banana groups this week criticized the certifier for 'refusing to participate in three-way dialogue' with them and retailers.

"We are curious about RFA’s refusal to participate in the dialogue, especially considering that they themselves have established the requirement for a Shared Responsibility following the Sustainability Differential,”  the banana groups said.

"It is not a discussion about prices, it is a discussion about how to make the frog seal fair again, with added value, and created according to guidelines that will not jeopardize the sustainability of banana producers". 

Producers have requested a meeting with the certifier's Board of Directors.