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We've got community and charity films from throughout the UK and the world. Plus you can watch all your favourite social action films from all of Britain's main broadcasters.
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Fields of Gold?

3rd December 2004

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Banana Republic?Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall this film, where two British women go on a journey to discover how the UK's favourite fruit, the banana, ends up in our shopping baskets. Do smallscale farmers in developing countries get a fair deal for producing Britain’s most popular fruit?

The women, Viv Endecott from Dorset and June Beardshall from Sheffield, were chosen to meet banana farmers in the Windward Islands after entering a competition. They travel over 5000 miles to visit the Caribbean Island of St Vincent to find out more about the living and working conditions of the farmers – mainly women - who produce bananas for the UK.

They meet Nioka Abbott, a banana grower from St Vincent, and her fellow-farmer, Betty Williams.

"Farmers are being driven out of production as well as having their properties sold because they cannot pay their loans. Fairtrade would help in a real way," said Nioka.

In order to compete with the big plantations of Central America, many small farmers are joining the Fairtrade scheme to survive. In return for meeting specific standards, fairtrade farmers get the benefit of a fair price, secure contracts, and assistance in developing their business or social situation – conditions not available to workers on big plantations.

The UK consumer pays a slightly higher price in the shop, but in doing so they know they’re contributing to a fair deal for families doing strenuous work to make a living. Viv and June returned to the UK committed to making fairtrade work for the people they’d met.

“They produce a good quality crop which we enjoy eating. What’s the alternative for them if we don’t make an effort to eat their bananas,” Viv says.

The film was made by the Fairtrade Foundation which licenses and monitors companies to use the Fairtrade Mark. Globally, fairtrade produce comes from 370 producer organisations in 45 countries, representing around 800,000 farmers and workers.


Fairtrade Foundation
The Fairtrade Foundation exists to ensure a better deal for marginalised and disadvantaged third world producers. The Foundation awards a consumer label, the FAIRTRADE Mark, to products which meet internationally recognised standards of fair trade. The Fairtrade Foundation was set up by the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), Christian Aid, New Consumer, Oxfam, Traidcraft and the World Development Movement. These founding organisations were later joined by Britain's largest women's organisation, the Women's Institute. Nearly all major supermarkets and many independent stores are now including Fairtrade in their range. In 2002, shoppers spent over £63m at the checkout on foods with the Fairtrade mark.

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