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Community Programs

Natural Habitats strives to preserve and protect local heritage, culture and traditions. To achieve that, the company has established the following social projects.

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.

Empowering Farmer Leadership

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.

Supporting Community HEALTH

To support whole community health, we are proud to invest in a wide range of supports and resources.
We provide personal protective equipment such as gloves, boots, and helmets to safeguard workers’ health while out in the field and in the mill. We have two medical doctors (MDs) who provide health services for farmers, workers, and the entire community. MDs provide children and families with check-ups and nutrition advice. One of our medical clinics is located in the mill, making it easy for employees to access health services like check-ups, medications, lab tests, and specialist referrals.
Before transitioning to organic growing, farmer Dora used the toxic pesticide glyphosate. She was concerned about the health of her son and workers. Since she stopped using harmful chemicals on her farm, she feels much better about the health of her family and workers.

Education initiatives build community capacity. We organize training for community members on topics such as sexual health, environmental sustainability, organic gardening, literacy, and more.

MEDICAL ASSISTANCE FOR PRODUCERS AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS

There is a lack of medical support in the growing regions in Ecuador, therefore Natural Habitats provides medical support through the development of two medical centers and access to medical professionals. Because locals have difficulties in accessing basic medicine, Natural Habitats supplies medical kits with basic medications to communities. Communities have a chance to come for counseling, receive vaccines, and have regular check-ups in the medical centers.

COMMUNITY FOOTBALL SCHOOLS

Children are the future and a backbone of any community. Therefore, in order to create a strong and healthy society it is essential that children have a healthy body and a positive mind. For this reason we have developed a football training program in Ecuador for local children.

EDUCATIONAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

Natural Habitats also organizes trainings for community members in different topics such as sexual education, environmental education, organic gardens, micro-enterprises, literacy and other topics that are encouraging people to lead more responsible, confident lives.

THE EMPOWERMENT OF SMALLHOLDERS

In all Natural Habitats operations, there are active projects to continuously improve the social and economic situation for smallholders, including paying a premium for the organic palm fruit that they grow. Natural Habitats strives to end the circle of poverty that affects many smallholders in developing countries in the world by providing smallholders access to an equitable and fair-trade system.

TECHNICAL SUPPORT

Natural Habitats provides health, safety and organic training to small holders. This training continues to grow and develop each year with in-depth information on organic principles and RSPO standards. All advice and training is given free of charge.

FREEDOM TO CHOOSE

Our smallholders maintain their rights to freely organize, freely communicate, and bargain collectively. The farmers are free to choose what to grow on their land and where to process their products.

PREMIUM PRICE CERTIFICATIONS

Natural Habitats pays a premium to smallholders for supplying certified fruits – organic, RSPO, or Fair For Life. Additionally, through education provided by Natural Habitats, smallholders are empowered to increase their output and therefore also increase their continuous income.

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