BioTropic

Community Development

BioTropic SRL is a banana producer in the Dominican Republic. The associated producer organizations, Finca Villa Lobo, Finca Caobanita and Centro Ecologico are located in Villa Lobo Adentro and Mao-Santiago Rodríguez. Every year, the workers for BioTropic utilize FairTSA’s Community Development program to improve their community’s infrastructure, healthcare, and access to education. Community members collaborate with FairTSA on logistical support and use processes of democratic decision-making to select projects that best serve the long-term needs of their community.

Bananna Production in the dr

The Dominican Republic is the largest producer of organic bananas in the world. Grown on over 12,000 hectares of land, organic banana exports in 2015 reached 240,000 metric tons ($150 million) and accounted for 55% of the world’s organic banana export.* Despite this recent upward trend, many rural banana producers struggle to access affordable healthcare, quality education, and protection from anti-Haitian racism. Producers also find themselves especially vulnerable to adverse weather conditions: flooding and winds from tropical storms ̶ such as, in recent years, Erika and Irma ̶ cause severe damage to banana trees, yields, and producer self-sufficiency. Recent

FairTSA development projects have focused primarily on mitigating storm damage in the construction of irrigation systems and the development of emergency funds that help producers survive during periods of tree regrowth

* Figures from UN Food and Agriculture Report: http://www.fao.org/world-banana-forum/

 

Below: Producers meet to discuss the annual community development project. Using communal decision-making processes, they decide how to best leverage the social premium funding at their disposal.

Community Development Overview

2014-2018

For their initial projects, BioTropic employees rehabilitated dilapidated worker housing and sanitation facilities which were negatively affecting the health and welfare of Finca Villa Lobo inhabitants (the small village where most workers reside). For subsequent projects, they used funds to support a visa application program, which protected the community’s Haitian-Dominican population from deportation. In 2017, a series of tropical storms severely damaged crops and infrastructure, forcing Finca de la Lobo to split into two separate villages—“Villa Lobo Adentro” and “Carretera Mao-Santiago Rodríguez.” Following this disaster, producers have divided premium funds between the two villages, with posthurricane projects supporting producer morale and survival as they rebuild their community.

2014 - 2015

Project: Construction of 15 new lavatories and sanitation facilities at Finca Villa Lobo.

Below: Construction of sanitation facilities which support community health and wellness at Finca Villa Lobo. 

2015 - 2016

Projects: Passport and work permit acquisition for Haitian-Dominican producers at Finca Villa Lobo, including transportation to and from immigration office to have documents examined and

approved; Travel to Haiti to retrieve identification documents; General support throughout complicated autocratic processes.

2016 - 2017

Projects: Worker compensation fund to alleviate wages lost to flooded crops; Replanting of banana trees as well as installation of improved irrigation system in defense of future natural disaster; Planning of communal celebration and inter-village soccer league to help boost morale; Repair of producer housing and church infrastructure; Installation of water tank at the village school.

Below: The producer soccer team, established in the wake of crop-destroying floods, tours the island and competes against nearby villages and co-ops.

2017 - 2018

Projects: Zero Interest loan program; School Supplies project; Purchase of Christmas baskets for producer

families; Christmas celebration; Repair of producer housing and church infrastructure