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Economy

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Supporting Communities

Natural Habitats strives to support positive economic development in the communities in which it operates. Not only does the company create new job opportunities, but it also continuously supports farmers with trainings in sustainable yield intensification, and pays premium prices for their organic palm fruit. These activities are part of the Natural Habitats’ empowerment initiatives, which aim at ending the circle of poverty that affects many farmers in developing countries.

Examples of current programs that have been implemented are listed below.

How Organic Palm Oil Builds HEALTHY COMMUNITIES

The practice of extracting valuable resources at the detriment of local communities is not in the past. Sadly, many companies still enact these harmful practices. At Natural Habitats, we’re committed to actively improving the lives of farmers, their families, and their entire communities.

Fair Wage and Stable Income for Farmers

Sustainable and ethical practices mean that we pay farmers a premium price for their palm fruit. Our long-term partnerships with our farmers in Ecuador provides them with a more stable income. Ending the vicious cycle of poverty common to many farmers benefits the health of the entire community. With dependable funds, farming families can afford healthier food, and proper healthcare and improve their overall quality of life.

Meeting High Labor and Facility Standards for Larger Farms

Larger farms must meet stricter requirements – and we support farmers every step of the way.
We also work with companies like BioAp to perform Environmental and Social Impact Assessments. Workers complete surveys about labor issues like salary, contracts, working hours, access to personal protective equipment and clean water.

TRAINING PROGRAMS

Natural Habitats strives to empower the producers of oil palm by providing them with the necessary knowledge on organic agriculture practices, composting, multi-cropping, yield intensification and other important topics. Additionally, farmers receive training in labor related issues such as health and safety, equal opportunities and non-discrimination policies, first aid, labor legislation and technical information specific to each job.

PROMOTION OF THE FARMERS' ASSOCIATIONS

Adhering to the principles of fair-trade, the company promotes the association of small farm producers. It promotes leadership and self-reliance in negotiation processes, generates a space for discussion, and allows farmers to reach agreements that have a mutual benefit.

We empower our farmers by supporting the formation of farmers unions, as well as the workers’ union of our mill. In fact, Natural Habitats supported the very first organic farmer association in Ecuador.

On top of the premium price that farmers in our supply network are paid for palm fruit, some of our customers pay an additional premium for growing fair trade palm fruit. This goes into a separate fund earmarked for social,environmental or economic development projects. Farmer/worker committees decide how to use these funds.

As the president of Quevedo Organic Palm Growers’ Association, farmer Wilfrido’s leadership strengthens his farming community. He plans to organize training on financial management, health and nutrition.

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