In 1997, fourteen intrepid banana producers in southwestern Ecuador on the search for better markets tried their luck and shipped a container of bananas across the ocean.
By avoiding local middlemen and dealing directly with international buyers, they hoped to improve their quality of life and that of their families.
Since that humble beginning, Fairtrade bananas have brought great returns to the farmers of El Guabo who now export 23,000 boxes of Fairtrade bananas every week, half of which are certified organic.
One half of the cooperative’s employees are women, including one third in managerial positions. Farm owners own an average of 6 hectares of land.
They also hold a unique position as the only producer of Fairtrade bananas, also co-owner of an importer, AgroFair, who at the beginning gave them a hand with their first container.
This joint ownership of the supply chain gives smallholders a stronger voice in the trade and allows them to benefit more from the banana trade.