San Miguel de Brasil
The growers of San Miguel de Brasil work cooperatively to pack, market and ship their bananas directly to international buyers, which allows them to receive a higher price for their fruit and have more control over the process than going through one of the larger banana labels. By working within the Fairtrade system, the cooperative has been able to utilize the associated premium to launch a number of projects for its member farmers, including technical, administrative and financial trainings, educational aid for workers' families, and free medical services and medicines for producers, workers and administrative personnel.
From 14 founding partner growers in 2001, the organization has grown to include 134 members. Most of the members own their own land and grow bananas on 2 to 12 hectares (5 to 30 acres), as opposed to the large plantation-style growing operations in some other parts of Central and South America that can reach several thousand hectares in size.
This cooperative system of small farmers usually presents additional challenges in supply chain logistics and efficiency. By supporting such a group of small growers, Fairtrade aims to ensure an improved quality of life and respect for the environment in banana growing regions.