According to the norms of Fair Trade, Asoguabo needs to keep evolving. A goal of the co-op is to diversify – to start producing more than just bananas. Cacao is one idea.
– Cacao and banana are a good pair. Many of our members already cultivate cacao, and we want to help them develop that part. Through the Asoguabo, we want to try to commercialise the sale of cacao within the system of Fair Trade. Not necessarily by exporting ourselves, but through cooperation with other companies, says Gustavo Novillo, head of Promesa, which manages the Fair Trade premium of one dollar per banana box.
One way in which the money is used is this: to help the farmers develop.
Another possibility is bamboo, which is a popular building material in tourist spots. Illegal bamboo is cheap, but Asoguabo could sell legally cultivated bamboo cheaply to Peru, because the co-op is so close to the border. There is already a group of producers making souvenirs out of bamboo, and they could be further trained.
What is Promesa?
The programme for social and environmental improvements to reach a sustainable development through the Fair Trade premium of one dollar per box of bananas.