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Thanks a bunch for 25 years of Fairtrade.
We’ve gone beyond Fairtrade to support banana producers in Panama and the Dominican Republic by investing additional funds for community projects.
We sourced our first Fairtrade bananas through Volta River Estates (VREL) in Ghana. Here from them on the difference Fairtrade makes in their community.
“Volta River Estates Limited is a small banana growing association in Ghana, West Africa. We were one of the first suppliers of Fairtrade bananas to The Co-op in 2000. The sale of Fairtrade bananas has helped support the building of schools in the local communities. Fairtrade funds have also been used to provide free healthcare, clean water storage facilities and a new hospital administrative block as well as specially treated mosquito nets that have been distributed to protect against malaria.”
We’ve been working with Chito’s co-operative, COOBANA since 2007, when we supported them into the Fairtrade system. By paying a premium before they were Fairtrade certified, we worked with them to improve members' access to water and sanitation. We’ve also been supporting COOBANA members to improve their housing. So far 50 families have built new roofs, bathroom and kitchen facilities in their homes.
“Fairtrade…is freedom. It’s communication, it’s sustainability, it’s empowerment…it’s everything for us in a world that’s so competitive.” Diomedes Rodriguez, member of COOBANA R.L. ©Fairtrade Foundation
The Productivity Increase Programme (PIP) aims to improve soil health through organic production methods and the incorporation of micro-organisms and organic matter, which translates into higher fertility, a reduction of water and chemical use, increased resistance to pathogens, and ultimately higher banana farm productivity. In 2019, Co-op contributed to financing the programme, specifically supporting activities in five Small Producer Organisations in the Dominican Republic. PIP has seen demonstrable success in the Dominican Republic, with productivity raising from 1,744 boxes per hectare (in 2018) to an estimated 2,011 boxes per hectare (in 2019).