Sustainable Banana Organizations

Project title: Sustainable Banana Organizations

Duration: 2021-2023

Area of implementation: Peru and Dominican Republic

Topics: Family farming, fair trade, banana sector, gender and youth inclusion, climate change adaptation, strengthening management capacities.

Participants: CLAC, the Peruvian Platform of Small Fair Trade Producers (CNCJ – Peru) and the Dominican Platform of Small Fair Trade Producers and Workers (COORDOM).

Co-funder: French Development Agency (AFD) in coordination with Max Havelaar France

Context: Peru and the Dominican Republic share a number of characteristics regarding the production and sale of fair trade bananas. In both countries, banana production is mainly carried out by small producers organized through cooperatives. In both Peru and the Dominican Republic, small producers face challenges in terms of productivity, agricultural diversification, access to new environmentally friendly biological production technologies, and new pests and diseases (such as fusarium). At the organizational level, there are gaps that need to be closed, especially in terms of business management, quality assurance, communication and inclusion of young people and women. In addition to the severe crisis currently affecting the banana sector, it is the small producers and their organizations that are in a situation of vulnerability that puts the future of thousands of small farmers and their families at risk.

Description : The “Sustainable Banana Organizations” project seeks to contribute to improving the sustainable livelihoods of small producers in 11 organizations in Peru and the Dominican Republic. Over the course of three years, the project will seek to contribute to reducing the gaps faced by small producers and their organizations. The project will facilitate the implementation of practices to optimize soil fertility, agricultural diversification, production and use of environmentally friendly ecological supplies; it will also strengthen business skills and support the cooperatives’ organizational and commercial strategies to improve the value of their production in the organic and fair trade banana market. Lastly, women and young people will be trained to improve their leadership skills and participate more actively in their organizations and communities.

Objectives and expected results

Specific Objectives:

  1. To improve, in a sustainable manner, the production conditions, productivity and quality of fair trade bananas for small producers in 6 cooperatives in Valle del Chira in Peru and 7 cooperatives in the northwest and south of the Dominican Republic.
  2. To improve the cooperatives’ competencies in management, marketing, communication and inclusion of youth and women in order to increase their competitiveness.

Expected results:

R1.1. Small fair trade banana farmers improved the soil fertility of their banana plantations (through diagnostics and soil fertilization field schools).

R.1.2. Small-scale fair trade banana producers diversified their cultivation practices (through the implementation of micro-factories for organic supplies and pilot diversification plots).

R2.1. Cooperatives improved their management, marketing and communication skills.

R2.2. Cooperatives improved the inclusion of youth and women.

Some of the activities developed from the project as part of the actions contemplated to achieve the proposed results are as follows:

  • Strengthening the technical competencies of SPOs on Fusarium (FOCR4T): As a result of the presence of Fusarium in Peru, a training process was developed with the objective of improving the response capacity of the SPOs in the face of the threat of entry and/or presence of Fusarium. This process was developed in two stages:
  • The first was virtual through 6 webinars developed over six consecutive weeks, in this stage we had the participation of 23 SPOs from Peru and Dominican Republic. In each webinar we had an average of 70 participants out of a total of 190 registered.
  • The second stage included 4 days of face-to-face workshops for Peruvian SPOs; in this stage we had the participation of 15 SPOs and 85 participants, including producers and technicians from the different organizations. This process included a replication stage carried out by the project organizations.
  • The consultancy “Development of sustainable management plans to improve soil quality in banana plantations; and a feasibility study by country for agricultural productive diversification complementary to banana production” is currently underway. As part of this consultancy, workshops have been held with each SPO to develop “participatory diagnoses” that will enable the preparation of “sustainable management plans” for each of the SPOs, as well as the feasibility study for agricultural diversification.
  • By means of a workshop to identify needs and socialize the microfactories fund, the process of implementing the microfactories of ecological supplies contemplated in the project began. These microfactories will enable the organizations to contribute to the improvement of soil fertility and conservation through the use of organic fertilizers and biological pesticides from their members.
  • In the Dominican Republic, 02 gender and inclusion awareness workshops were held, initiating a process aimed at developing diagnoses on gender inequalities and the situation of young people in each of the project’s SPOs. These diagnoses will contribute to the design of a women’s leadership school for each country.
  • Together with CATIE, we are ready to begin the process of strengthening the entrepreneurial capacities of the SPOs. This process involves 18 months of joint work between the project team – CATIE and the project’s SPOs, where one of the most important activities will be the management school for each country.

At the end of the project, we hope that small producers will have sustainable livelihoods, that their production units will have integrated elements of nature-based climate change adaptation, increased their yields (productivity) and diversity on their farms, and that the organizations will strengthen their business skills and become more inclusive, helping to reduce their vulnerability to the fair trade banana market. Currently, the project has developed participatory conditions to initiate a productive strengthening process that includes a production concept based on soil health, diversification – productive biodiversity and the use of environmentally friendly ecological supplies. It has also strengthened the skills of organizations in Peru and the Dominican Republic on fusarium FOC-R4T, enabling them to improve their response to the presence of this disease and/or prevent it from entering new growing areas and banana-growing countries in the region.

The project has provided training on Fusarium prevention protocols in Peru and the Dominican Republic.

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