Producer Profiles

APOQ - Asociación Pequeños Productores Orgánico Querecotillo

The Asociación de Pequeños Productores Orgánicos de Querecotillo (APOQ) was founded in 2002 as an alliance of small farmers in Peru’s northern coast bordering Ecuador. Starting with only 89 producers, its ranks have increased to an impressive 367 members across Querecotillo district in the Chira-Sullana valley. Seeking to improve their relationships with exporters and competitiveness on the international stage, APOQ sought and achieved Fair Trade certification in 2004. They began to produce and export organic certified bananas in 2006.

The group’s goals are both social and economic: they wish to achieve a fully literate workforce with local access to medical attention and to cultivate their direct relationships with the organic Fair Trade banana buyers in the international market.
 

Quotable

With APOQ’s support I was able to get surgery on my hernia and am now on my way to recovery so I may return to work on my plot.  

Felipe Mena, APOQ member

Thanks to APOQ’s support, the school now has modern computers that will allow our students to be knowledgeable about new technologies.  

Mario Domenak, Querecotillo Secondary School Princ

Thanks to the financing through Fair Trade premiums, I save money on fertilizer purchases while still improving my production, and have more disposable income to send my son to the University.  

Juana Delgado Chunga, APOQ member

Programs

Interest-Free Loan Incentive Program

The members of APOQ have developed a production incentive program that includes quarterly interest-free loans allocated according to individual farmers’ production levels. These funds (financed by Fair Trade premiums) allow farmers to offset their production costs and invest in improvements by financing supplies and equipment used to produce their bananas. Through this Fair Trade loan program, farmers no longer have to rely on expensive loans after the harvest season to fund production improvements. Access to cheaper loans ultimately increases farmers’ final earnings and in turn, will help them invest additional incomes in further production and improvements towards a better quality of life for their families.

Equipment for Schools

As an institutional projection campaign, APOQ used Fair Trade premium funds to donate one computer, a multimedia projector and a copying machine to the only high school in Querecotillo. Through Fair Trade premium funding, the children of Querecotillo will have better access to technology, and school administrators will have valuable teaching tools to provide a better education for the students of this community.

Emergency Medical Fund

APOQ used Fair Trade premiums to establish an emergency medical fund to cover urgent surgeries, treatment for illnesses, and funeral costs. These benefits extend to the farmer, spouse or partner, and all dependent children.

The purpose of this fund is to aid family members in the event of unforeseen major medical expenses they would otherwise not have been able to finance on such short notice. Additionally, ill farmers used to lose income due to medical incapacitation, further impeding their ability to secure medical treatment. This social investment helps secure constant production and improves the members’ quality of life by providing financially accessible medical care.