program date: 
Tue, 07/01/2008

Bananas are a fruit native to the tropical region of Southeast Asia
and Australia. Today, they are cultivated throughout the tropics. Bananas are
among the most widely consumed foods in the world, and are grown in at least
107 countries.

Transnational fruit companies  and
supermarket chains  buy enormous
quantities of bananas and competition has led to reduced margins in recent
years which in turn has led to lower prices for growers. Banana farmers have
historically received a low unit price for their produce and been subjected to
poor working conditions.  Today, most
banana workers continue to labor for low pay and are often exposed to toxic
pesticides.  Child labor and violent
repression against workers who organize unions have also been documented .

Tonight on Circle A Radio we’ll look into the marketing of the banana… why
do Westerners  think of the banana as a
staple food item and not a luxury? We talk to Peter Chapman, author of Bananas!: How the United Fruit Company Shaped
the World  about  the mass-marketing of the banana, United
Fruit's involvement in Guatemala, and their covert links to the US government,
. We also talk to Michael Mc Millen, banana buyer  for Organically
grown company in Clackamas, who discusses banana farming and the journey of the
golden fruit from the tropics to our shopping carts. Finally, we talk with
Peter O’Driscoll, executive director of Action Aid  USA about human rights and the banana market today.



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