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|Norma Porras has been the resident banana nana in the El Guabo Cooperative since 2007. She has run the family banana farm alongside Angel, her husband of 45 years, after taking the reins from her brothers and father.
Life is good for Norma. Her son Pucho helps on the farm and she just bought a second car. She now knows she has a stable future ahead of her, and her four kids and 10 grandchildren.
You could say that being part of El Guabo changed Norma’s life.
But things weren’t always so great for Norma and her family. For the 25 years before she joined the Cooperative, her life and livelihood were run by brokers who bought her bananas at low (and unpredictable) prices. Money was tight, to say the least.
With a family to feed and bills to pay, life was pretty stressful. “I felt like I was having a heart attack,” she says, “I couldn’t pay the workers, running my life and my company into debt, borrowing money to get ahead all the time.” She was running in circles, only just paying her debts back when the market was good, before once again borrowing more money as the price per box steadily fell. “The situation got to the point where we were ready to cut down the banana plantation and plant cacao again.”
All that changed when Norma joined the El Guabo Cooperative of Fairtrade banana farmers. Now, she produces around 200 boxes per week and sells them for a fixed price – one she can live on – a far cry from before.
Norma still has friends in other banana companies and is grateful to be part of El Guabo. “What happens with other companies, they’re jealous because El Guabo always has respectful contracts and fixed prices for producers. The other companies don’t respect prices or the contracts they sign.”
Norma’s proud to say she is part of the El Guabo Cooperative. She’s also proud of her grandkids – who have gone on to be professionals, thanks to the fact that they could go to school. “Thanks to El Guabo and Fairtrade I could raise my family. We receive healthcare and food.”
And thanks to you, too. Because every All Good banana you buy is making a difference for family farmers like Norma.