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Plantain Farmers' Group
Plantains (savoury bananas) are a staple food in this rural part of Ecuador and vast areas of land are covered by plantain plantations.  Large producers dominate the market, leaving the small family farms producing just a few boxes a week to sell on the local market or to exploitative middlemen.  Market prices fluctuate wildly throughout the year so this is a very unstable income.
CRACYP helped over 30 plantain farming families to work together and in this way they have enough plantains to export up to one container-load a week.  CRACYP handled the export paperwork and transport, advised on quality control and provided training on the ever-changing international requirements and regulations.  The price was higher, and fluctuated less than on the local market, so income was greater and more predictable and the farmers had a market for their plantains even when there was a glut of fruit locally.
Lower-quality fruit unsuitable for export was sold nationally for processing into 'chifles' (plantain crisps) or other snacks.  Even damaged fruit was not wasted - it's great food for pigs - and the stalks made superb compost.  
The project helped the farmers adapt to changing market conditions, new export regulations and the results of global warming.  CRACYP also offered advice on how to produce more plantains from the same area of land in an environmentally-friendly way.
This is a poor, isolated part of the country with little infrastructure.  Some of the farmers have no power supply to their homes and no means of transport. Some cannot even write their own names, far less fill out shipping forms.  By working together as a community and building skills with CRACYP's training, they were all able to add value to their plantain crop and become exporters of a top-quality product.  
Unfortunately international market prices and local conditions have forced the closure of this project for the time being.
Plantain Farmers Group
Training, advice and support to add value
and increase rural incomes through export of quality plantains.
A Green Progress project by CRACYP in Ecuador.



Ripe yellow plantainsPlantain farmers talkingPlatanos plants
Green plantains
Wooden house with plantains hanging from roof
Green and yellow plantains in box