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Stick with Foncho, Stick with Angello

Todays Go Bananas! blog is from Tropical Wholefoods – the home of delicious Fairtrade and organic dried fruits…..


Welcome to Fairtrade Fortnight 2014! Here at Tropical Wholefoods it’s like Christmas.. We count down the weeks; we plan, stress, melt down, then sit back, relax and enjoy what is the most wonderful time in the Fairtrade calendar!



Richard Friend with farmers from Mountain Fruits

Richard Friend with farmers from Mountain Fruits

We know Fairtrade works, because we see it first-hand. Richard Friend, TW’s Technical Director, spends months of the year visiting Kabul and the northern areas of Pakistan. He always returns full of optimism and stories about the challenges faced by farmers in the most difficult of circumstances. Where poverty is coupled with political unrest, the dedication of the partners and the farmers to producing top quality produce, conforming to organic farming methods and upholding fair trading standards is beyond awe inspiring.


Fairtrade Fortnight 2014 is themed as ‘Make Bananas Fair’ and leading the way is Foncho, a charismatic and passionate banana farmer from Colombia. However quite easily this could have been Angello Ndyaguma, Managing Director of our partner organization in Uganda, Fruits of the Nile. FON has been operating for over two decades and was originally founded by Tropical Wholefoods Director’s Adam Brett and Kate Sebag, together with Angello. Adam grew up in Uganda and witnessed the struggle of the farmers – turning out unbelievably sweet and beautiful bananas that only a Ugandan sun could ripen to such perfection. With a saturated local market pushing prices down, the powerless smallholder farmers didn’t envision looking further afield for sales. Adam and Angello designed low technology solar driers using locally sourced materials and trained farmers in sun drying. Adam and Kate brought the sweet chewy chips back to the UK and sold them in London markets.

Fairtrade banana producer David Mugabi with wife Dorothy and baby infront of solar driers.


James with bananas!











That was twenty years ago – today demand outstrips supply. Angello has enlisted the work of thousands of farmers around southern Uganda, whose lives have improved with access to a global market, fair pay, and the Fairtrade premium which the farmers themselves choose either to invest in community projects or in their business. Had it been Angello’s story, we would have heard of a country where only 15 to 20 children out of every 100 attend primary school, yet now most of the children of the farmers and fruit driers who supply FON attend (often going on to graduate from University!). Stories of small villages devastated by AIDS where relatives and neighbours are struggling to care for orphans they have taken in. They are uniting and supporting each other in fruit growing and drying businesses to pay for food, shelter and education for these children – where there have been so many challenges, the future now seems bright.


Angello Ndyaguma (left) with producer Ssalongo Rutunguru.

Angello Ndyaguma (left) with producer Ssalongo Rutunguru.

So this festive Fairtrade Fortnight season, Stick with Foncho, or Stick with Angello or Stick with any one of the 2,500 farmers and their families who are benefitting from the ‘Fair Banana’ in Southern Uganda alone, by learning more about how you can #ChangetheWorld and #GoBananasForFairtrade. By doing so, you are demanding UK supermarkets stop trapping millions of farmers in a cycle of poverty by continually cutting prices. “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”


To learn more about Fruits of the Nile click HERE to watch a fantastic short video of their work.


And to taste the Fruits of the Nile head to your nearest independent food store OR one of our events – we have a host of samples for you to taste!  

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