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

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

This course helped us feel more useful and has given us more options for generating income for our families. The course has given us the chance to meet and share with other women who face similar life challenges.  

Vanesa Berrio, wife of an El Cortijo worker

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

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.

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.

Reforestation Project and Environmental Education

Bananeras El Cortijo has used some of its Fair Trade premiums to educate local ninth and tenth graders on ways to protect the environment. The Joint Body calls upon its youth to help in reforesting the banks of the Zungo River, which runs through their community and borders the El Cortijo farm. The Joint Body hopes to ensure a clean local environment for future generations by educating their youth about the importance of sustainability and preservation.