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The arid climate provides the perfect conditions for organic banana cultivation

For the past year, Agronorperú, a family-owned business that produces and markets bananas in the Peruvian province of Piura, has been adhering to the guidelines of the Fairtrade certification, aiming to improve the quality of life of its employees and the community, while also focusing on environmental protection, another major issue in terms of sustainability. By producing organically with the corresponding certificates issued by the U.S. and the EU, Agronorperú is firmly committed to the preservation of the natural environment.

Agronorperú's banana plantation is located in the middle of the desert, in northern Peru. The arid climate and sufficient water supply provide the perfect conditions for organic banana cultivation.

"Workers benefit from the Fairtrade certification either monetarily, through their salary, or through projects and activities aimed at improving their living conditions and those of their families," says Dennis Paolo Infante Guevara, Sustainability Manager at Agronorperú. "In this first year of adhering to the Fairtrade certificate standards, we have tried to cover the basic needs of the workers through the construction and repair of housing, but also by covering the cost of technical studies for the workers and their children. Next year, we will focus on analyzing the wage level of the workers in relation to the Fair Wage in the banana sector, as even though the Peruvian salary is not the lowest in South America, it certainly needs to be improved."

Detailed information upon arriving at the company Agroexportaciones Nor Perú SAC.

The car is disinfected to prevent the spread of diseases.

Number 1 in organic quality
According to a report made by the Dutch importing company AgroFair, in the last quarter, Agronorperú's bananas ranked first in terms of quality in the organic production segment. "This same company has already assured us that they will buy fruit from us that will be shipped to both Europe and Asia," says Dennis Infante.

Harvesting bananas remains a heavy, manual task.

An inspection is carried out before the banana hands are cut

90% of Peruvian organic bananas are grown in the Chira River Valley, in the department of Piura. "The production of organic bananas in Piura is possible thanks to its warm and dry climate all year round, as well as its very fertile soil, which is one of the best in Peru and perhaps South America. Proof of this is the unprecedented growth of the department's agricultural production in the last decade. A few years ago, grapes or blueberries were not planted in Piura (grapes were the flagship product of Ica, in the south of the country), but now Piura has surpassed Ica in terms of acreage planted with this fruit."

The cut hands are placed in a pool of water, to which a disinfectant is added to prevent rotting in the cut area.

The banana hands are wrapped with a band based on the customer's wishes and are labeled to guarantee their traceability.

Water as the limiting factor
Although it is still feasible for the cultivated area to grow in Piura, Dennis Infante says that the water supply is a limiting factor. "We cannot overlook that we are increasingly having more droughts in Piura. Thus, we must pick the right time to invest and grow." However, drought is not the only threat to the agricultural production in the north of Peru. In March last year, Cyclone Yaku hit Tumbes, Piura and Lambayeque, the three regions where organic bananas are cultivated. This weather phenomenon wreaked havoc with heavy rains and caused rivers to overflow. "Small producers were the most affected by the floods," says Dennis Infante, explaining that the El Niño phenomenon generally causes heavy rains and floods in the northern coast of Peru, while the south is affected by drought.

A worker placing the banana hands on a tray.

Regarding the implementation of measures for environmental protection, Agronorperú has an on-going project to improve energy efficiency through the installation of solar panels and wind energy which will be launched in a month. "Also, for next year we plan to do a project on efficient waste management, and there's also the option of a recycling project, which aims for banana stems to be used to manufacture clothing," says Dennis Infante.

The weight is verified and the plastic bag is sealed.

A few hours after the harvest, the bananas are already brought into the refrigerated container

Agroexportaciones Nor Perú SAC (Agronorperú) is a family company led by Gerardo Gonzales Chunga, who ventured into banana production about 14 years ago through the purchase of agricultural land and the planting of about 100 hectares in the province of Piura. These were added to the company's existing table grape and lemon productions in the province of Sullana. Eleven years ago, the company started exporting bananas to the United States and Europe, and soon Agronorperú's fruit will also head towards the Asian market. "However, the company's vision is not simply to export organic bananas. It is going further than that, as it also cares about the workers, society and the environment," says Dennis Infante.

For more information:
Gerardo Gonzales Sullón
Agronorperú (Agroexportaciones Nor Perú SAC)
Calle Saycusca Nr. 281
Maranga – San Miguel, Peru
Tel.: +51 451 9388
Mob: +51 998359455
[email protected]

Agronorperú offers opportunities to improve the living space of the workers and their families

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