In the past years banana companies have tried to get rid of the ownership of the plantations. By this way they make away with responsibility in the countries of production.
A banana harvest is done irregularly according to an order by a firm headquarters. The workers on the plantations are hired only on a three months contract basis.
In Costa Rica a worker earns 70.000 colons for 15 working days, which is about ten dollars a day. The shifts begin at four o´clock in the morning and finish at six in the evening.
Due to no education and illiteracy the banana workers usually do not know what kind of chemical substances are working with and do not care about an efficient protection.
There is a high risk for the inhabitants of banana regions, such as man impotence, cancer, cutaneous diseases, respiratory problems, all due to the unscrupulous banana industry.
The banana industry has totally disrupted the traditional relations and constellations in the indigenous communities on Caribbean costal zone.
The banana production is an very extensive chemical production. A third (and more) of the banana price are expenses for its chemical maintenance.
Pesticides used on the plantations in Latin America, as e.g. Paraquat (herbicide) and some phosphates, are forbidden in some European countries.
Banana workers are exposed to higly toxic chemicals through a skin contact.
It has been estimated that about twenty percent of the whole banana harvest is thrown away with no use because the fruit does not meet the company standards to be sold in Europe and the US.
South America, Colombia, Aracataca. A soldier stands next a banana bunch on the banana plantation. The big companies used do hire paramilitary groups to protect their interests.
The banana plantations in Costa Rica are a target for migrant workers from Panama and Nicaragua who are willing to work for any salary because in their countries there is no work at all.
Workers preparing bananas for packaging. Considering the consumption of chemicals a banana tree is the second in the world right after a cotton plant.
If the local governments (of Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras,…) do not offer tax reliefs, the big banana companies threat with going somewhere else.