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From poor farmer to sustainable business owner

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SDGP praktijkverhaal Filippijnen bananen header

Many farmers in Carmen, a municipality in the Philippines, live below the poverty line. They cannot make the switch to sustainable, circular farming methods on their own. The 'Going Bananas’ project turned out to be the perfect solution. Non-profit organisation Aidenvironment cooperated with different partners to train 2,000 farmers. This helped them switch from single-crop farming (a monoculture) to a circular, sustainable method for growing bananas. The project received support from the SDG Partnership Facility.

Traditional farming methods

The Municipality of Carmen in the Philippines is a former conflict zone. Poverty and food insecurity are common there. The farmers in the area live below the poverty line. They grow mostly corn and rice but earn hardly any money from it. This kind of monoculture is also bad for the soil. Another drawback is that a corn-based meal has almost no nutritional value.

Traditionally, this group of farmers do not grow more than one type of crop at once. Because they depend on only 2 crops, they are vulnerable to price fluctuations. They also need water to grow their crops. But due to climate change, the local water supply is no longer dependable.

New method yields more than new crops 

The project from Aidenvironment helps this group of farmers in more than one way. It teaches the farmers to use part of their land to grow bananas and coconuts sustainably. The goal is to practice organic farming and earn certification. Pilots involving ways to capture surplus water are also being carried out. The farmers can then use this water during periods of drought. These developments are helping more than 1,200 farming families.

Soon, every community will have a central collection point for bananas. From there, the bananas are transported to the processing plant. When the farmers produce more bananas, the processing plant must increase its capacity as well. This is good for the local economy because it creates new jobs. The leftover banana peels serve as fertiliser. In short, the project involves the entire banana chain.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that farmers who use organic growing methods gain professional expertise and a guaranteed market for their crops. By involving the local government in the project, the farmers in Carmen are working toward a better future for themselves.

SDG Partnership facility

The SDG Partnership facility (SDGP) helps to achieve the following sustainable development goals in developing countries:

  • SDG 2: ending hunger
  • SDG 8: decent jobs and economic growth
  • SDG 17: partnerships for the goals.

To reach these goals, it is necessary to work together. That is why SDGP works with public-private partnerships (PPPs) between government, businesses, NGOs and knowledge centres. Find out more about SDGP.

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