BioTropic and FairTSA

Community Development

2014 - 2020

   Producers are at the heart of FairTSA Fair Trade certification. Together through community development projects and capacity building we are helping to directly impact the agricultural communities that grow and process our food. 

BioTropic SRL is a FairTSA Fair Trade certified producer of bananas in the Dominican Republic. The associated operations are 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 support and infrastructure. Community members use democratic decision-making to select projects that best serve their immediate and long-term needs. 

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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 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 such as flooding and winds from tropical storms. In recent years, storms Erika and Irma ̶ caused 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.

2019-2020: Schooling, Medical aid, Food distribution, & Holiday celebrations

The past few years have had similar goals. BioTropic been organizing around its community’s needs, running similar projects to support their farmers. For 2020 and 2019 the activities included Easter and Christmas celebration meals with food and sweets distributed. Deliveries of school supplies to the worker’s children was also carried out for the new school year. There are delivery of medicine prescriptions to people who had health complications during 2019, as well as personal loans made available to workers without any interest. Official worker cards are organized and provided for the foreign workers. Finally there is an annual celebration day for the of the workers with a trip to the beach. 

2018: Rebuilding after Tropical Storms 

During 2018, the Dominican Republic was still recovering from a difficult storm season the previous year. To that end, the majority of the CDP project for this year consisted of supporting the rebuilding efforts of farmer’s homes and church. In addition, loans were still available interest free to the farmers, school supplies were distributed to children, and there was a Christmas celebration with food and sweet’s distributed.