Where do mywear t-shirts, Pirkka and K-Menu tuna products, Pirkka Fairtrade roses, and PROF Timber sold in our stores come from? We want to increase the transparency of our purchasing chains by providing information on the origin of our products and their journey to our stores. Choose a product to find out more.



Ecuador 2023 - ASOGUABO Banana-Samuel 1080x1080.jpg

Samuel is a representative of the younger generation of banana producers. Photo: Guillermo Granja / Fairtrade

Pirkka Luomu Fairtrade bananas are grown in Ecuador on Fairtrade-certified farms.

Ecuador is the world’s largest exporter of bananas and the second largest producer of Fairtrade bananas. A humid, tropical climate combined with rich soil makes Ecuador an ideal place to grow bananas.

In Ecuador, more than 74 % of Fairtrade bananas are grown by cooperatives formed by smallholdings, and 26 % on large farms. Both the number of certified cooperatives and the number of large farms have increased, and in recent years the increase in the number of large farms has been faster.

From a sustainability perspective, the mode of production matters: on plantations, the most common human rights challenges are related to workers’ wages and working conditions, while in the case of smallholdings the question is of the level of income of the farmers.


Pirkka Luomu Fairtrade bananas are grown in Ecuador, where they are picked about nine months after planting. First, the bananas are transported by lorry from the plantation to the port of Machala, where they are loaded onto a ship bound for Manzanillo in Panama. From Manzanillo, the bananas continue their journey onboard an ocean-going vessel to Germany, either to the port of Bremerhaven or the port of Hamburg, from where the containers are loaded again onto a vessel bound for Helsinki. It takes about five weeks for the bananas to travel from the plantation to Finland.


Banaanikypsyttamo 750px.jpg

When arriving in Finland, the bananas are still green and raw. All bananas sold in K Group grocery stores are ripened at the K Group banana ripening plant in Hakkila, Vantaa. The banana ripening plant has 30 ripening rooms that can hold almost a million kilograms of bananas.

The ripening process is initiated by subjecting the bananas to heat and ethylene gas, which is naturally present in the fruit. The ripening of bananas takes some 4–8 days, and the temperature in the ripening room varies between 12 and 20 degrees Celsius. When ripening, the bananas take on their familiar yellow colour, and their flavour changes from bitter to sweet. The quality of the bananas is verified upon arrival, during ripening and in connection with delivery.


Banana production has become more challenging due to climate change and the extreme weather conditions it causes. Drought increases the need for irrigation, while excessive moisture increases the risk of diseases. Investing in environmentally sustainable production methods is important to ensure that banana cultivation can continue in the future.

Organic production has environmental advantages over conventional production methods. Organic fields have greater biodiversity and organic cultivation maintains soil fertility better than conventional cultivation methods. Sustainable farming practices, catch crops and crop rotation also have a positive impact on carbon sequestration.

Fairtrade promotes environmentally friendly banana production in many ways. Several of the Fairtrade criteria address environmental issues. To be able to sell their products as Fairtrade products, farms must, among other things, protect forests, reduce their climate emissions, as well as reduce the consumption of energy and water and the use of pesticides and fertilisers.

MicrosoftTeams-image (19).png


Independent assessments have shown that education provided by Fairtrade has a significant impact on farmers’ environmental awareness and related actions. Furthermore, Fairtrade farmer networks promote the exchange of ideas between farmers and learning from best practices.


Fairtrade production must comply with strict regulations that protect both farmers and nature. Compliance with the criteria is monitored throughout the production chain through independent audits. The Fairtrade monitoring system has been awarded the ISO 17065 standard, which is an indication of impartial and transparent control.


Fairtrade bananas are grown in developing producer countries where Fairtrade works to ensure that farmers and workers have enough to live on. At least the guaranteed Fairtrade price is always paid for Fairtrade bananas, plus a Fairtrade Premium.

Ecuador 2023 - ASOGUABO Banana (5)1080x1080.jpg

Photo: Guillermo Granja, Fairtrade


Pirkka Fairtrade bananas have generated more than €1.5 million in Fairtrade Premiums between 2008 and 2021. On banana plantations, decisions on the use of the Fairtrade Premium are made democratically by the farmers and workers together. The funds are intended for the social or economic development of the community.

The Fairtrade Premium has been used for many purposes by banana farms:

  • To establish healthcare services
  • To improve housing conditions of workers
  • To develop educational services for workers and their families
  • To grant health insurance
  • To develop infrastructure such as roads



Organic Pirkka Luomu Fairtrade bananas come from selected banana farms. Tierra Fértil and Las Guayas are two of the most important recent growers of organic Pirkka Luomu Fairtrade bananas.

Fyffes Established in 1888, Fyffes is one of the largest and oldest fruit importers and distributors in the world. The company has more than 5,400 permanent employees and 11,000–16,500 seasonal workers. Kesko has been collaborating with Fyffes for seven years.
Banana farm:
Tierra Fértil is a farmer cooperative that brings together 103 small and medium-sized banana producers along the southern coast of Ecuador. It is challenging for individual smallholders to get bananas to the international market, but the establishment of cooperatives like Tierra Fértil makes it possible. The cooperative grows a total of around 22,000 boxes of bananas per week, most of which are sold to the United States and Europe.
The Tierra Fértil cooperative is made up of small and medium-sized family plantations, and around 18 % of its members are women. In addition to the Fairtrade certificate, the cooperative holds a GLOBALG.A.P. certificate and an organic certificate, and all 103 members of the cooperative have extensive experience in organic banana production. The cooperative has participated in a project for increased productivity (PIP) funded with the Fairtrade Premium, which aims to help small banana farmers in improving their production processes while conserving natural resources. As part of the project, different types of training sessions and workshops have been organised for the farmers. The project has enabled the cooperative to increase its volume of banana production, improve product quality and reduce the overall cost of cultivation. The cooperative has used the Fairtrade Premium to, for example, set up a pharmacy, a recreational area and an organic fertiliser production site, as well as to do soil research, the results of which have helped to optimise fertilisation. The Fairtrade Premium has also been used to purchase computers and toys for local schools. In addition, the Fairtrade Premium allows the cooperative to grant its farmers 15-week interest-free loans.
Fyffes Established in 1888, Fyffes is one of the largest and oldest fruit importers and distributors in the world. The company has more than 5,400 permanent employees and 11,000–16,500 seasonal workers. Kesko has been collaborating with Fyffes for seven years.
Banana farm:
Las Guayas is a cooperative of 83 small and medium-sized banana farms in western Ecuador. Like Tierra Fértil, the establishment of the Las Guayas cooperative has given small farmers access to the international market. The cooperative has set as its target the continuous improvement and increase of its banana production volume. In 2019, the cooperative produced 2,600 boxes of bananas per hectare, and the goal is to increase the banana production volume to 3,000 boxes per hectare by 2023.
Las Guayas Around a quarter of the members of the Las Guayas cooperative are women. The cooperative has made strong investments in organic farming and actively develops different organic farming methods to minimise the impact on people, nature and animals. The cooperative produces its own organic fertiliser that is sprayed on the leaves of banana trees to strengthen the plants and increase their flowering and yield. The cooperation’s own organic production also offers financial savings. After having become a Fairtrade member, the cooperative has formed a committee to monitor the welfare of workers and compliance with the set rules, as well as to improve occupational health and safety. The cooperative’s workers have also received new working clothes and shoes, as well as the protective equipment necessary in their work. The cooperative wants to use the Fairtrade Premium to benefit the surrounding community, which is why it has donated land for the construction of a wastewater treatment plant.


A cooperative consisting of


family plantations
A Fairtrade member since


Regular Fairtrade audits are carried out at the farms, most recently in


The farms are regularly audited by a third party in a GLOBALG.A.P. Audit, most recently in



A cooperative consisting of


banana farms
A Fairtrade member since


Regular Fairtrade audits are carried out at the farms, most recently in


The farms are regularly audited by a third party in a GLOBALG.A.P. Audit, most recently in



Carmita Gía, 65, has had a long career in banana farming. Carmita, who comes from a poor background, started growing bananas 18 years ago on a rented farm of about three hectares. Nine years ago, Carmita joined the Tierra Fértil cooperative, a decision she has been happy with. Carmita now has her own 12-hectare banana plantation, and she employs almost 15 people in total. All of Carmita’s adult children also work on the farm.

Like the other members of the Tierra Fértil cooperative, Carmita also practices organic farming. Carmita is a strong advocate of organic farming and is pleased that farmers are getting a better price for organic products.

According to Carmita, Fairtrade has had many positive effects. For example, the Fairtrade Premium has been used to set up a medical clinic from which Carmita and her family can receive healthcare services. Even though the COVID-19 pandemic was challenging, Carmita is happy that all members of the cooperative had access to face masks and vaccination against the disease.


Photo: Willy Paredes/Fairtrade


Would you like to learn more about another product? See here for the products:

Read more

To top