Luis Guartatanga and his wife Maura Inga in Rio Joya harvest between 50 and 70 boxes of bananas per week. They get 7,40 dollars per box, but that barely covers the cost of production.
-Sometimes not even that. Sometimes we have to pay part of the production costs for the bananas with the income from our cacao plants. 8,50 dollars per box would be a fairer price, enough to save a little for the household, they say.
– If we didn’t grow cacao we wouldn’t have food on the table, says Maura.
And Luis adds:
-Buy more organic bananas. Now we aren’t making enough.
Growing organically, especially on an agroforestal farm where the bananas grow mixed with other plants and trees, is expensive and labour intensive. The labour is the biggest expense. They need two temporary workers on harvest days once a week.
-It takes more time to harvest the bananas that grow among all the other trees. And organic farming products aren’t like conventional chemicals. You have to apply them more often and control the farm much more carefully.
But before he joined Asoguabo five years ago he got paid even less. Only five dollars per box.
-The middleman got more than the farmers. Now we sell directly to Asoguabo. Through them we also get premium money and interest free loans.
In Asoguabo he can buy agricultural products at a cheaper price, and some products he’s gotten for free.
Read more about the fairtrade price in earlier entries: