ASOGUABO, or the association of small banana producers of El Guabo, was founded in 1997 by 14 producers in El Guabo, Ecuador. In 1990, the Ecuadorian banana industry was mainly dominated by giant multinationals, while small producers had to sell their bananas through traders that enjoyed offering a meagre price. The first 14 producers of ASOGUABO joined forces to sell directly to AgroFair by respecting fair trade standards. The goal of the cooperative is to improve the living standards and the community of its members. To reach that goal, ASOGUABO increases its market share specifically in the fair trade area by providing high-quality products, traceability, food security, and respect for environmental norms. The cooperative successfully diversifies its market by being present in Europe via AgroFair and in the United States, New Zealand, Canada, and most recently Asia.
Climate change and the increasing difficulties in predicting meteorological changes forced farmers to seek better farming methods and more efficient soil management. Despite pesticides, the Black Sigatoka, a disease caused by a mushroom that affects banana leaves, is gaining ground day by day.
To overcome the rising challenges of climate change, ASOGUABO and AgroFair aimed to develop a global response to mitigate the impact of climate change on production, raise the plantations’ resilience, and seize new market opportunities. The goal here was to combine sustainable production systems, coach the entrepreneurial spirits, and modernise the production chain.
The Trade for Development Centre acted to improve access to new markets with six specific objectives:
– The promotion of sustainable soil for durable and pest-free production
– The improvement of water management
– The reinforcement of biosafety measures
– The rationalisation of the administrative process
– The promotion of the entrepreneurial spirit
– The reinforcement of communication and marketing capabilities