Orgánicos Iturbe - Asoc. Agrícola Cañera Orgánica de Iturbe
Local infrastructure is poor. Inhabitants of Iturbe have to travel about 30 kilometers on dirt roads to get to the nearest city to receive health care, banking and education services. Locally, there are very few job prospects apart from growing cane, and the population of Iturbe has suffered from emigration.
Currently, the Asociación Cañera Orgánica de Iturbe has three tractors for members to utilize for soil preparation. One truck is also utilized to help its members with the commercialization of small crops of beans and vegetables. Aside from sugarcane, farmers grow yucca, corn, watermelon and citrus crops for self consumption as well as the local market. Molasses and rum are also produced as byproducts of sugarcane. On average, farmers have access to about six hectares of land.
With the funds from their Fair Trade premium, Orgánica de Iturbe organizes training programs to educate its members on organic farming practices and crop diversification. The cooperative also has a reforestation program that uses native trees as well as fruit trees to protect soil and improve productivity.
Thanks to Fair Trade, we now own our organic certificate, which enables us to do business directly with importers abroad. ”
Hugo Hernán Rodriguez, President
Through Fair Trade, our organization has grown greatly, allowing us each year to negotiate a better price for our cane. This benefits all our families since sugar cane is the principle source of income for the whole region. Fair Trade equals Social Equity! ”
Mamerto Gimenez Rojas
Through Fair Trade, I have been able to increase my income. I can use the tractor that the Association purchased with Fair Trade premium, thereby hugely decreasing my costs of production and improving my organic farm. ”
Jose Godoy Nunez
Local School Assistance
As a community investment, Organica de Iturbe donated funds to the most deprived schools in their region do that they could improve the educational experience of the local children.
Truck Repair and Fuel
Orgánica de Iturbe invested part of their Fair Trade premium money to repair their tractors and trucks as well as provide sufficient fuel to keep them running. The trucks are extremely beneficial to the organizations productivity as they help members organize their harvest and deliver cane to the mill.
Excavation of Irrigation Ponds
The producers also voted to implement an irrigation project in order to improve their sugar cane productivity. With these funds, they excavated ponds for their members, so that members would have a water reserve to use for irrigation during the drought.