Producer Profiles

Bananeras de Urabá - Mi Tierra, Madrigal, Tagua, Cantares...

Bananeras de Urabá is a banana export company located in the tropical northwest region of Colombia and comprised of six Fair Trade Certified™ farms. Founded in 1963, Bananeras de Urabá has experienced many highs and lows due to numerous domestic conflicts and unstable regimes. Since Fair Trade certification in 2005, the association has focused its efforts on developing social and environmental programs for its workers and families. As a result, workers have better access to international markets, educational institutions and sustainable farming methods. Basic necessities such as clean running water and electricity were scarce before, but Fair Trade premiums have now helped workers access more funds to rebuild their homes, send their children to school and save for future investments.
 

Quotable

My name is Karen Andrea Garcia Higuita. I am 21 years old and belong to a working class family in the village of New Cologne, Colombia. My father's name is Donisel Garcia. He works in a banana plantation called Solomon which is part of Bananeras de Urabá. Through the Rosalba Cardona Zapata Corporation, I had access to one of my biggest dreams – a scholarship to pursue my university studies. In 2008, I began to study at the Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia in Apartado, in the Public Accounting program. The company paid each semester as I completed them, ultimately investing a great deal of money in my education. This assistance has been invaluable and I am very grateful for the support. I hope I can give back to the community and the company with the knowledge I have gained. The company has been incredibly helpful in my professional development.  

Karen Andrea Garcia Higuita, Scholarship Recipient

We would like to thank Bananeras de Urabá for their generous donation of musical instruments, funded with Fair Trade premiums. Our children are very grateful.  

La Institución Educativa Currulao

I received the new house in October 2011, which has signified a 100 percent shift in my family’s life. My labor has also seen positive changes mostly because I am freer from debt – having to pay $250 USD in rent before, where as now I pay the corporation $96 USD a month until my loan is paid. Each month I feel my house is more my own and now, all I have to worry about is utilities. Before, I used to live in the same neighborhood but in a dorm style environment. The apartment I paid for had two rooms and there was no privacy. The kitchen and dining areas were part of the same room. Now we have a comfortable home; everything is separated and more commodities are available; these changes mean a lot to us.”  

Anderson de Jesús López Solera, Bananeras de Urabá

Programs

Skill Development for Women

In collaboration with SENA, Bananeras de Urabá is training women in an urban development program. Women have learned how to bake bread and cakes in addition to selling fried “empanadas” as a means to generate additional income. The results of this program have led the organization to invest in more training sessions teaching women how to form their own businesses.

Music Program

The organization donated musical instruments to the “Sounds of Peace” youth community program. So far, workers claim the group’s music has reached the ears of 25,000 people through concerts and other activities. They hope to promote community, peace and harmony through music.