Producer Profiles

EL CORTIJO - Bananeras el Cortijo

El Cortijo is a banana plantation located in the Urabá region of Colombia. It was founded in 1986 by six farm workers who took out a bank loan to purchase the land. The plantation has survived long periods of violence and political instability, especially during the 1980's and 1990's. In 2007, El Cortijo became Fair Trade Certified™ to combat poverty and uplift farm workers. El Cortijo hopes to establish itself as an economically sustainable company and spread the wealth gained from Fair Trade premiums to its workers and community.
 

Quotable

By caring for the environment, we also improve our own lives. This project has made us feel useful. Through it, we use our time in a productive manner, have fun with our friends in a healthy way and care for our surroundings.  

Daniel Mosquera, student

If the organization had not given me the loan, two of my daughters would not have been able to study. I am thankful for the opportunity to educate my children.  

Hetor Dario Escobar, farm worker

Without help from Fair Trade we could not have had the money to pay for school. Now I am in my first semester at studying Accounting for the public sector.  

Señora Rosa Bilma Mosquera, wife of worker

Programs

Community Projects Investment Amount

In one year alone, Bananeras El Cortijo alloted 1.4 million Colombian pesos to community projects.

Vocational Education Projects

Fair Trade premiums enabled Bananeras El Cortijo to award 24 workers and their family members with scholarships to continue their formal education through various technical courses. The organization was able to pay for a course on sewing kitchen linens (aprons, pot-holders, placemats, etc.) for 25 workers' spouses, providing new skills toward additional sources of income. Not only did this course promote women empowerment and raise their self esteems, it sparked new bonds and friendships.

Emergency Loan Fund

Bananeros El Cortijo provides funding for workers affected by natural disasters. After a major hurricane in 2008 for example, the organization provided financial and moral support for four workers - one of whom lost his brother in the disaster and needed help paying funeral expenses, another catching a long term illness and requiring regular medical attention.