A FESTIVAL launched to help some of the world’s struggling banana farmers escape poverty took place in the unlikely setting of Wimborne Square at the weekend.

The Banana Festival, part of Fair Trade Fortnight initiative running until Sunday, was organised by the Dorset town’s Fair Trade association.

Group chairman Robert Pearce told the Daily Echo how a steady stream of visitors had attended the event, and enjoyed the banana produce on offer.

They also had the chance to speak to banana farmer Dorothy Agard, who has been flown to the UK from her Caribbean banana farm by the Fair Trade organisation to further highlight the plight of independent growers.

Mr Pearce explained: “Around 80 per cent of bananas are bought in supermarkets in this country, but the money we pay for them doesn’t generally get back to the people who are doing the growing.

“They only get a very small slice of the banana in money terms, if you pardon the pun. But those with a Fair Trade mark get a guaranteed price, which is passed on to the grower and their community.”

The price of a single banana is only 11 pence, and this relatively low cost can trap many of the banana farmers in a cycle of poverty, campaigners say.

Speaking at the festival on Saturday, Mr Pearce said: “We have had a constant stream of people at the event. We’ve had lots of bananas, some Caribbean music and the sun is shining.

“I don’t think anyone visiting Wimborne today will go away without thinking about bananas.

“We want to support the livelihoods of small scale farmers and producers around the world.”