Producer Profiles

Martha María - Finca Martha María

The Martha María banana farm is located in the Urabá region of Colombia. Urabá has suffered some of the worst violence in the country’s decade-long civil war. Thankfully, the area is relatively peaceful now and communities are rebuilding. However, the region is still a smuggling area for drug traffickers, so legitimate employment, which offers workers and their families a real chance to escape poverty, is vital to keep the youth out of the drug trade. The needs of community members are significant and Fair Trade helps farmers everyday by providing fair wages and much-needed development funding. Martha María has been Fair Trade Certified™ since 2006.
 

Quotable

I am a worker at Martha María and the father of two daughters. Through my work at Martha María, I was able to fulfill my biggest dream - to own my family home. I thank you for letting me share this joy with you.  

Gustavo Adolfo Doria Ballesta, Worker

My name is Carolina Suaza and I am a worker at Martha María. The organization allowed me to receive a series of trainings in which I learned to apply skills that will make me better at my work. I am grateful to Fair Trade for this.

The organization also put together school materials kits for underprivileged children in the community. Their families expressed gratitude for the Fair Trade label, which supports this type of social project in our communities.  

Carolina Suaza, Worker

Programs

Helping Workers Buy Homes

Martha María used a portion of its Fair Trade premium funds to provide loans to worker families without housing. Four workers were without housing and the organization was able to loan enough money to each of them to build or buy homes.

Small Business Possible with Micro Loans

The focus of Finca Martha María's efforts in 2012 is the financing of producers' micro businesses as additional sources of income. Since the beginning of the year, the program has already seen three members open successful small businesses. A member with his brother opened a small clothing store, bringing clothes from outside the city to offer community buyers something new and different. A member with his wife built a facility to raise chickens and sell poultry and eggs. Another worker with his wife set up a school and office supplies store.

Covering Health Expenses

Medical attention in Colombia is historically known for being insufficient and expensive, especially for low income families. Such is the case with community members at Finca Martha María, which is why they have helped fund a project that will finance associates’ medical co-payments when receiving treatment. Funds have also been separated to help workers with emergency transportation, hospitalizations, medicine and other basic needs including access to wheel chairs, crutches and reading glasses.