SHOPPERS in The Malls went bananas for a Fairtrade event aimed at getting fair prices for banana farmers across the world.

The event, on March 1, marked 20 years of Fairtrade, and was organised by the Basingstoke and Deane Fairtrade group to raise awareness of the bruising business.

Over 1,200 free bananas, which were donated by Fyffes, in Houndmills Road, were handed out to shoppers from an old-fashioned fruit stall throughout the day.

Hundreds of visitors also signed a national petition, which will be sent to the Government, calling for fairer prices for farmers.

Shoppers in the Basingstoke shopping centre were given the chance to enter a raffle with five luxury hampers of Fairtrade products from Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Lush, the Overton Co-operative store, and the Basingstoke and Deane Fairtrade group up for grabs.

The Fairtrade group raised £220 from the raffle which will go towards funding future Fairtrade events and raising awareness of the hardship farmers face.

Jill Gibson, chairman of the Basingstoke and Deane Fairtrade group, said: “It was a really successful event and it generated lots of interest.

“This is probably the biggest event of the year for us, and it allows us to see why people buy Fairtrade products and why they don’t.

“There is a different level of recognition in the street, and we are trying to improve people’s awareness of what Fairtrade means.”

She added: “We want the Government to step in. They (banana farmers) are really stuck because it used to be a good business but now it is completely unsustainable.”