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

Our new house we were able to finance through the organization is close to a high school. Today, our family is united, less worried and more optimistic about the future. My family is very happy now. We thank God for this gift!  

Domingo Romero Morales

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

Programs

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.

Scholarsips for Workers and Community

Bananeras El Cortijo allocated almost 6 million Colombian pesos to an academic program, awarding 48 scholarships to its workers and families. Of the group, three workers received scholarships to complete a higher education, all of which are now attending college, including one worker's spouse. Forty four children also received assistance with school transportation fees, uniforms and meals.

Low Interest Housing Loans

Bananeras El Cortijo allocates a portion Fair Trade premiums specifically for housing loans, helping farm workers to purchase, build or improve their homes. Without Fair Trade premiums, it is more difficult for farm workers to access loans with such favorable credit terms.