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WIBDECO, WINFA to sign agreement



New Sale and Purchase Agreements for all Fairtrade bananas from the Windward Islands, for 2008, will be signed between WIBDECO and the Windward Islands Farmers’ Association (WINFA). The latter is the certified producer organization for Fairtrade in the Windward Islands, representing banana producers in the region.{{more}}

This means that WIBDECO will not be renewing its purchase contracts with the local banana companies. The switch from the banana companies to WINFA is necessary to comply with new requirements of the Fairtrade Labeling Organization (FLO), in respect of its certification protocol, which became effective on 1 April of 2007. The new GENERIC FAIRTRADE STANDARDS For Small Farmer Organizations superseded all previous arrangements under the FLO-CERT scheme. FLO-CERT is the certifying body of FLO, which provides accreditation to all producers, exporters, importers and marketers of Fairtrade products in Europe.

In order for Windward Islands bananas to retain Fairtrade status, the entire supply chain (from producer to importer) must be certified. As a consequence, all Fairtrade bananas supplied to WIBDECO from the Windward Islands must originate, by contract, from Fairtrade certified producer organizations.

WINFA is the only Fairtrade producer organization in the Windward Islands that has been certified by FLO. It is the umbrella organization for the National Fairtrade Organizations (NFTOs) in each of the Windward Islands.

In Dominica and St. Lucia, the local private banana companies that are not affiliated to WINFA or the respective NFTOs will have to enter into contractual arrangements with WINFA, as service providers, if the existing marketing structure for Windward Islands bananas is to be maintained.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Government’s initiative reorganizing the banana industry will result in the SVG/NFTO taking over the functions of the SVBGA, thus allowing for a neat transition to 100% Fairtrade banana production and marketing.

Over 90% of all Windward Islands banana exports are sold as Fairtrade. This has been a direct response to the demands of the retailers in the UK, which has helped sustain the banana industry and the livelihoods of rural farm households in the Windwards Islands.