Schools have gone bananas over the past two weeks.

They have been taking part in Fairtrade Fortnight which, this year, included a campaign to transform the banana industry for the better.

Schools across Craven looked at the issue and held banana-themed events.

Skipton, in particular, embraced the initiative as it is preparing to submit a bid to the Fairtrade Foundation to become a Fairtrade town.

“Bananas are the fourth most important food crop in global agriculture after rice, wheat and maize and in the UK we eat over five billion bananas a year,” said Liz Roodhouse, co-ordinator of Craven Development Education Centre and chairman of the Skipton Fairtrade Town Steering Group.

“Shockingly, many banana farmers and workers still can’t afford to put enough food on the table for their families or provide basics such as education or healthcare.

“They are at the end of a tough supply chain, where every last penny is squeezed out because supermarkets, where we buy the majority of the bananas that we eat, are caught up in competition over how cheaply they can sell bananas and that includes Fairtrade bananas.”

The plight of banana farmers was highlighted by Aimeth Fernandez Angulo – manager of a growers’ co-operative in Colombia – in a talk at Skipton Girls’ High School on Friday, which was attended by local primary schools, Skipton Town Council and interested members of the general public “Aimeth gave a presentation about her farm and how Fairtrade had improved her quality of life, which was truly humbling,” said Dawn Brailsford from the high school.

To encourage children to have an ongoing interest in Fairtrade issues, the Skipton Fairtrade Committee has launched a competition for local schools.

Individual children, or small groups, are being asked to produce a story book or board game which brings Fairtrade issues to life.

Judges will look for evidence of research into Fairtrade issues as well as the content and appearance of the finished product.

Prizes will be awarded in five age categories and the closing date is Thursday, June 5. Entry forms and further information are available by emailing

Meanwhile, Glusburn County Primary School will round off its Fairtrade celebrations with a coffee morning in school tomorrow from 9am to 10.30am .

“Everyone is welcome to come along,” said Carla Lambert, leader of the school’s Fairtrade team.

Pupils and parents at Christ Church Primary School in Skipton gathered for a Fairtrade coffee morning last week.

The event, which included displays of fairly traded goods and a Fairtrade market stall was organised by year 4 and 5 pupils in Diamond class raised money for Oxfam and is part of the school working towards Fairtrade status.

Class teacher Laura Bartlett said: “It is important that pupils think about the food they eat and where it comes from. They have had some great questions and ideas to share.”