Orgánicos Iturbe/Organica de Iturbe/AACOI
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.
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
The Association continues to invest in their local reforestation project. This year they invested in a greenhouse in which they can plant and grow native plants that will be used to reforest land around the farming communities.
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.
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.