This project is designed by and for small farmers, who are members of organic banana farming cooperatives in Ecuador and Peru. Through the creation of community-scale composting facilities, farmers' livelihoods are improved as the need to buy expensive, commercial inputs is eliminated. Farmers are empowered with technical skills and knowledge on soil nutrition, making them experts on their own farms. Soil biodiversity is boosted, leading to greater production yields and quality fruit.
Chemical dependent, monoculture banana production systems harm biodiversity and make banana plants vulnerable to disease. Farmers need to find production methods that protect, rather than damage biodiversity. Commercially available organic inputs have become increasingly expensive, while the cost of living for small family farmers has also risen. Small family farmers need training to produce their own organic inputs, and support to build their own community-scale organic composting facilities.
The creation of community-scale composting facilities empowers small farmers in Ecuador and Peru with the technical knowledge and skills to produce their own organic inputs, and assess the needs of soil and plants and how to meet them without agrochemical inputs. Creating their own organic composts and fertilisers saves on the cost of purchasing organic composts externally and, if a surplus is produced, can represent an additional income source for farmers.
A total of 178 farming families (426 farmers) will benefit from this project. Farmers will be empowered with the knowledge and skills to create their own organic inputs, in turn protecting biodiversity, upholding the right of rural people to earn a dignified living and defending against poverty. The results of this project will be shared with over 10,000 members of the International Alliance for Small Family Farming in the Caribbean and Philippines, with the aim of replicating the activity.