Working conditions of the Banana Industry in Ecuador

Bananas are a soft, long and yellow berry that are cultivated in exotic climates. I eat bananas almost every day because they are completely stock in my own home throughout the whole year. What I have failed to do in the past eighteen years of my entire life is consider the way the bananas that I eat are cultivated, sent to Canada, and then savored by me. This made me recognize that I take the intake of this berries for awarded since I have never taken the time to take into account the process whereby the banana is picked from a tree, to as soon as where it touches my lips. I've also never considered the implications that process may cause to banana industry workers who cultivate the bananas that we eat.

In this essay, I take a look at the banana industry in Ecuador. The explanation for the narrow give attention to this particular country is because Ecuador not only supplies one quarter of most bananas that key countries such as the U. S. , Canada and European countries consumes, but additionally it is the largest banana exporter on the globe (Human Protection under the law Watch 2002). The goal of this essay is to demonstrate how the banana industry in Ecuador is becoming reliant on multinational organizations to export the bananas that they cultivate. This newspaper will analyze how the banana industry emerged to emerge as a significant factor in the Ecuadorian overall economy; it'll compare the plans of multinational corporations in regard to the working conditions of the laborers, and analyze the devastating working conditions presently in place in Ecuador. This newspaper will also illustrate the pressures exerted upon laborers in the banana industry by the multinational firms providing our food markets using their banana supply. I'll also reveal the environmental impacts that multinational businesses cause through the banana industry in Ecuador. This newspaper will claim that the Ecuadorian economy's heavy reliance on banana exports through multinational companies 's the reason for the persisting poor working conditions for people working in the banana industry.

There is an enormous market for the principal product of bananas; over 86 million tonnes are produced each year and sold round the world (Smith 2002:40). That is an important point to note because it shows that countries concerning themselves in the banana industry have a better chance at accumulating income than perhaps through other companies. This 'yellowish silver' is grown in South Africa, Latin America and parts of the Caribbean with high demands via places that cannot grow bananas including the USA, Canada and Europe (ibid:40). One can see the discord of competition that lies between your banana producing countries in exporting bananas to generate income because of their market. The demand for bananas is very high since they will be the third most popular product in the world besides from petrol and lottery seat tickets (ibid:40). This might make any banana producing country, such as Ecuador, lured to allocate many of its resources and time towards exporting bananas. It is for that reason temptation that the Ecuadorian authorities allows multinational firms such as Dole, Chiquita and Del Monte to get into their country and help them prosper on the market (ibid:40). It is through these businesses that countries such as Ecuador export their bananas and are dependable to these companies' demands. This unfortunately leads to dependency on multinational businesses to take over and control what the working conditions are like for their workers. Because of this, the working conditions for the Ecuadorian banana industry personnel are destructive and horrific.

It is important to look into the annals of Ecuador and realize why their economy has become very dependent on the export of bananas through multinational businesses, which helps in the end explain the poor working conditions that the banana industry employees face in Ecuador. This dependency can be traced to the year of 1920 when the Ecuadorian administration panicked at the talk about of their market and made your choice to count on exporting bananas as a means of getting out of the economic downward spiral (Striffler 2002:25). Two factors accounts for turning Ecuador into a greatly reliant banana exporter: the Panama Disease that struck many Central American banana sites, and the collapse of the cocoa industry in Ecuador (Striffler and Moberg 2003:172). The United Fruit Company, which continues to be an effective multinational organization today, experienced many plantation sites in places in Central America, such as Hacienda Tenguel for example. A wave of Panama Disease struck banana sites like the ones in Hacienda Tenguel and many more in Central America, which obligated the company to relocate its business anywhere else. This was coincidentally around enough time that Ecuador was going right through an economic turmoil. The cocoa industry in Ecuador collapsed due to maturing cocoa trees in Western Africa and Brazil, which allowed these countries to compete in the industry (Striffler 2002:13). As the Ecuadorian authorities panicked, they were "desperately looking for an alternative export" (ibid:30); this was the perfect chance for the United Super fruit Company to consider advantage of the problem and offer the Ecuadorian federal a chance to become a larger part of the banana industry. Since Ecuador accepted help from the United Berries Company in the 1920s, more and more multinational organizations attended to dominate the creation and distribution of bananas through using local Ecuadorians as banana industry workers. This shows that the initial anxiety of the Ecuadorian government long ago has developed into reliance on multinational companies for the banana industry today. This is significant because not only does indeed it explain the way the banana industry in Ecuador took flight, but it addittionally shows the desperation of the Ecuadorian federal to rely on a multinational corporation to better their market.

Another important point to note is that multinational corporations, including the United Berries Company, have a tendency to offer some benefits that government authorities such as Ecuador have trouble refusing. Multinational organizations control travelling and labour recruitment, which helps the Ecuadorian market by distributing their product to large consumer countries in the North. For example, in the early 1900s, the United Super fruit Company encouraged the structure of the Stann Creek railway, that was built to make the transport of bananas easier throughout Central America (Striffler and Moberg 2003:159). This proved to be a success seeing as in 1920, Stann Creek Valley exported 621 000 bananas compared to 1893 when Stann Creek Valley exported 140 000 bananas (ibid:161). The actual fact that the railway was successful in distributing more bananas led many countries in Latin America to trust multinational firms with their precious banana industry, even even today. In addition to better travel of bananas, the United Super fruit Company proven a radio telegraph train station in Latin America so that many countries could communicate more effectively with one another and the company itself (ibid:160). Since bananas are a gentle fruit and can be easily destroyed by improper presentation, a country such as Ecuador can trust that their bananas make it secure with their consumers by using multinational businesses as their link to the Global North. Although multinational companies facilitate the duty of ensuring that bananas are sent and sold, there are also many negative results which come when counting on these large businesses to generate economic success.

Multinational corporations appear to fail at keeping yourself true to their working condition regulations for their workers' in the banana industry. Take Chiquita, a faction of the United Berries Company, for example. Their main concern is to source high quality bananas at a competitive cost, maintain long-lasting customer connections and transfer their bananas to worldwide marketplaces (Chiquita Brands International 2011). The working conditions of the employees is of low goal, if one in any way. Since bananas take into account approximately sixty percent of their income normally, and the company has a significant reliance after "long-term romantic relationships with large growers" (Chiquita Brands International 2011), it is stunning to observe how the company will not try to treat their workers with admiration and fairness. Chiquita attempts to hide their demand for extremely long work times and incredibly low income by training "corporate social responsibility" programs (The Gale Group 2011). Some of the policies include the same opportunity provision, forbidding any kind of discrimination and not allowing intimate harassment (The Gale Group 2011). Unfortunately, these policies are not implemented, and the federal government of Ecuador does little to nothing at all to help improve these conditions. This is because the income produced by exporting bananas is so significant to the entire income for the Ecuadorian administration that the banana industry personnel must simply deal with this injustice to keep their jobs and help their economy prosper. After all, the money made by exporting bananas is marginally behind the income that come from oil and created goods in Ecuador (Kopetski et al. 2002:2). Further, there is no "independent banana personnel union in Ecuador, " which makes it very difficult for just about any mistreatment to either go found or get fixed (ibid:4).

When assessing the working conditions that companies such as Chiquita promote to have a positive image for themselves, and the true working conditions that folks in Ecuador are at the mercy of in the banana industry, it is apparent that they are far from matching. The conditions that men, women and even children are working under in Ecuador are described as appalling (Individuals Privileges Watch 2002). Ecuadorians employed in the banana industry just work at least twelve time per day and face toxic pesticides, well-defined knives and machetes, unsanitary drinking water and also sexual harassment (ibid). They are also accountable for hauling extremely heavy plenty of bananas to meet up with the deadlines lay out by multinational firms (ibid). What's worse is the fact that the average wage for a banana industry staff member is about four American us dollars each day (Kopetski et al. 2002:2); a terribly low salary that does not allow a comfortable or secure lifestyle. What's worse is that individuals in Ecuador start working in this industry at a very young age and do not always have the opportunity to gain an effective education (ibid). Most kids begin to work in the banana industry between the age ranges of eight and thirteen with less than forty percent of children in school by the age of fourteen (ibid). The reason why that these injustices go unpunished is because the Ecuadorians don't have much of an alternative. Because of the fact that other Latin American countries near by are actively involved in the banana industry, the Ecuadorian federal attracts multinational organizations by offering the least expensive labor, being impartial to using agrochemicals to speed up the banana cultivating process, and devoting the great quantity of fertile land to the banana industry (Higman & Hellin 2002). This can be interpreted by applying neoliberal theory: Ecuador has a comparative benefit over many of its competition (ibid), and uses it to get the most revenue that this can. David Ricardo's theory of comparative benefit is practiced by and large by the Ecuadorian market in terms of the banana industry.

It isn't only people in Ecuador who suffer from coming to the hands of multinational companies, but additionally it is the environment that bears a heavy and harmful burden. Stemming from the first introduction of the United Super fruit Company in the 1900s, this multinational company and many more that adopted their debut set up banana groves at the main of several properties, clearing kilometers of land to be focused on the banana industry, and recruiting thousands of personnel into "largely underdeveloped frontier areas" (Striffler and Moberg 2003:171). Several land transformations occurred due to economic turmoil that Ecuador acquired confronted with the collapse of the cocoa industry, but what is worse is that this domination of multinational firms didn't stop there. It's estimated that approximately 380, 000 people are directly employed in the banana industry in Ecuador (Arias et al. 2003), which is a number that has risen since 1900 when approximately 3000 Ecuadorians were employed in the banana industry (Striffler and Moberg 2003:179). Therefore that even more land has been ruined and converted into banana industry place with regard to achieving the economy's full potential.

An example that highlights the environmental destruction is the way the shrimp industry in Ecuador has suffered because of the government's desperation to please multinational organizations' needs of blemish free bananas. The banana cultivating area close to the Bay of Guayaquil in Ecuador is across the Taura River, which empties its remains into this bay. Although this physical state may appear relatively innocuous, it is actually the reason for a significant increase in the mortality rate of local shrimps (Colburn 1997:98). The multinational businesses make their employees use unsafe fungicides and agrochemicals on the bananas as a means of safety, which eventually harms the well-being of the employees, contaminates this inflatable water and causes the shrimp to perish (ibid:98). It was in 1991 that the fungus infection disease "sigatoka negra" made an appearance in the North of Ecuador (ibid:98). This fungi ended up growing to not only the banana-growing area nearby the Bay of Guayaquil, but also to numerous other places in Ecuador. Because of this threat to the treasured bananas of Ecuador, banana plantations run by multinational companies, and small plantation banana growers who have been also managed by multinationals responded by using an aerial spraying of the banana fields numerous different varieties of fungicide (ibid:98). Ninety percent of the Taura River drains into the Bay of Guayaquil, and a record high increase in the shrimp mortality rate was inescapable and inescapable. Many locals referred to this event as "Taura Symptoms" (ibid:99). The logistics of the Taura River event are indicative of the fact that the Ecuadorian authorities is happy to sacrifice the wellbeing of other exportation business in order to guarantee the creation of what appears to be wholesome bananas. Additionally it is important to notice that the fungicides and agrochemicals that are being used in the banana industry are really harmful to the health of the Ecuadorian laborers. It is blatantly obvious that the laborers are not the one ones suffering as a result of large multinational businesses - the surroundings is also bearing the damaging burden as well.

Ecuador is definitely the UNITED STATES and European professional of quality bananas, and its own market has extended to Eastern Europe as well as parts of Asia (Arias et al. 2003). By establishing working business human relationships with countries of high degrees of product utilization, the Ecuadorian federal government has a responsibility to continue to provide the Global North with bananas, and is also under high pressure to keep to be the leading exporter of bananas in the global current economic climate (Arias et al. 2003). Matching to Wallerstein's World Systems theory, Ecuador is known as a periphery country, since a main source of its income would depend on exporting agricultural goods, such as bananas, that are exported to key countries in the Global North. This shows that there is not only an overreliance on exporting bananas, but that multinational organizations are the link between Ecuador and the Global North in regards to the banana industry.

The poor working conditions for banana industry workers in Ecuador are a destructive day-to-day fact, and the facts that I've examined above claim that the explanation for this is the heavy reliance through multinational companies for the export of bananas. This raises many concerns, and could cause potential problems in the foreseeable future of the Ecuadorian overall economy. For instance, if the United Fruits Company or any other multinational organization that is associated with Ecuador eventually ends up going bankrupt or taking their business anywhere else, Ecuador will have a hard time transporting their bananas to the Global North, which could have a negative effect on income for their economy. To entrust multinational companies with so much power and influence over the banana industry in Ecuador is a potential downfall. Finally, if people in the Global North are not as considering purchasing bananas and the acceptance of this super fruit diminishes, Ecuador hasn't strengthened a great many other industries nearly approximately the banana industry, giving them with fewer alternatives for generating money. All of these possibilities bring about concerns for counting on a primary product, such as a banana, as a major area of the economy. In order for Ecuador to build up as a country, a less heavily focused reliance after principal goods exportation would be beneficial; the target should be shifted towards conditioning other companies as well. Additionally it is obvious that the multinational corporations that are dominating the current economic climate have the power to regulate the fate of Ecuador, a risk that is not worthy of taking.

Learning about the banana industry in Ecuador has certainly made me realize that products such as bananas, and perhaps other products from periphery countries that are written by multinational businesses to the Global North, may have employees who are at the mercy of dreadful working conditions for the sake of their country's overall economy. These injustices shouldn't go unnoticed, then one should be done to make multinational corporations treat their staff better. Never again am i going to take the bananas i eat for granted.

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