During 2019, Banasa benefited 1,824 children through the nutrition program one banana a day changes your life, which consists of incorporating one banana a day as a nutritional supplement to the school meal.
Multiple local and governmental alliances have been established to carry out preventive health activities such as weight and height measurement.
Among its objectives, the program seeks to impact objective 2 of the SDGs (zero hunger), as well as to promote the active participation of social actors: business, community, and government.
The program benefited schools located in the Retalhuleu, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos region.
Schools were recognized for the implementation of the program, as well as the institutions that contributed to preventive health activities throughout the school year.
Banasa, in partnership with the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) and the International Cooperation Agency of Japan (JICA), invited the directors of COLRED to participate in the workshop on Integrated Shelter Management.
The workshop aims to update knowledge to bring local response forces towards international best practices for disaster reduction.
Banasa prepares for winter and climate change!
World Science Day for Peace and Development is celebrated every 10 November to highlight the significant role of science in society, promoting informed citizens about scientific advances to create more sustainable societies.
Banasa operates aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals; has been actively involved in the planning and execution of programs and projects that promote the reduction of the “Technological Gap” in Rural Schools in
During the year 2019, Banasa has contributed to the implementation of the “Digital Gap” program in rural schools to provide technological tools that allow students to have access to educational programs.
The program consists of donating tablets with educational programs in schools in the departments of Retalhuleu, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
Banasa promotes access to science and seeks to raise the education level of the area!
The Banasa School graduated pre-school and elementary school students, who have been taught through an active methodology in partnership with Funcafé.
During the graduation ceremony, company authorities and representatives of Funcafé presented the diplomas to the pre-school and elementary school students.
The Banasa school has been founded to provide a better academic level in the area, contribute to community development and provide more opportunities for the children of the company’s workers; It has more than 200 students and has obtained regional recognition for its academic performance and pedagogical methodology.
Congratulations to all the graduates and thanks to the students, parents, and teachers of the School for making this year a great success.
Banasa contributes to the education of the area!
Banasa began in April the diploma course “Community Adaptation to Climate Change” which has been developed through partnerships with the Institute for Climate Change -ICC-, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources -MARN-, and the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction -CONRED-; who have contributed to impart the theoretical and practical sessions.
The Diploma course second Module consisted of theoretical and practical sessions on planning and applying climate change adaptation measures, taught by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources -MARN-.
The Diploma course third module will be taught by the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction addressing risk management issues.
In the diploma course, company workers, community leaders and government entities from the municipalities of Genoa, Coatepeque, Ayutla, Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu and Asintal participate actively.
During the module, a reforestation day was carried out on the banks of the El Rosario River.
A field tour was carried out with the 50 participants to the upper, middle and lower parts of the Ocós River; to put into practice the knowledge acquired in the conservation of natural resources, integrated watershed management, and climate change adaptation measures.
The course participants visited the Loma Linda Trail to learn about natural resource conservation practices by the community.
The governmental entities that actively participate in the Diploma Course are Municip.
Guatemala is a country free of the Fusarium Tropical Race 4 fungus; a banana disease caused by the soil-borne fungus Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cubense (also known as Foc TR4).
Banasa has always implemented practices that guarantee the quality and safety of the crop; but with the alarm caused by the Fusarium TR4 outbreak in a country in the Latin American region, biosecurity measures in all our facilities have intensified.
With the goal that Guatemala remains a Fusarium R4T free-zone, Banasa in partnership with the Agriculture, Livestock, and Food Ministry (MAGA) and the International Regional Agency for Agricultural Health (OIRSA) carried out the Third National Drill to contain and prevent a possible Fusarium TR4 outbreak.
The drill was conducted at Banasa facilities, to raise awareness about the disease and teach the participants how to prevent, detect and contain a possible outbreak. 120 people attended the drill, among which are company workers and banana producers of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Escuintla.
The Drill was divided into two modules:
The drill began when the participants were preparing to enter our facilities.
Foot baths containing a disinfectant solution, favorable to the environment; have been installed to sterilize visitors’ and workers’ footwear. Transports disinfection is also carried out to prevent and minimize the transmission of diseases in banana crops.
During the drill, the participants learned the fundamental biosecurity processes to identify an outbreak and prevent the spread of the disease. Also, they were taught to use the appropriate personal protection tools and equipment to enter an area with a possible outbreak of Foc R4T.
Banasa promotes food safety and the development of healthy crops!
Banasa invited 50 people to participate in the Social Responsibility forum called “Transform is a process of commitment” held in the department of Quetzaltenango for the second time in a row.
The event was organized by the Center for Social Responsibility in Guatemala – CentraRSE-, of which Banasa is a partner.
The forum was held to reflect on the challenges and opportunities presented in the department and share initiatives and tools to achieve a process of conscious transformation, in which each individual is committed to sustainability.
Because of its importance as key actors to replicate
the message and promote the implementation of
best practices in their communities, Banasa invited
50 people to participate in the Social Responsibility
Forum. Among the guests are mentioned
community leaders, company workers and
government entities in the area of Quetzaltenango,
San Marcos, and Retalhuleu.
90 children from 15 rural and public schools participate in the fourth edition of the reading contest in the Southwest Zone of Guatemala.
Students from the Banasa School were awarded among the top three places, for exceeding the reading standard established by the Ministry of Education.
Representatives of the Ministry of Education attended the event. The first three places in each of the school grades were awarded regionally under the criteria of expression, accuracy, and speed of reading.
Banasa, in partnership with the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction -CONRED- and the Association of the Southwest Trifinio -ASODITSO-, carried out the renewal of accreditations to 72 people from 10 communities of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos, and Retalhuleu; as official members of Local Coordinators for Disaster Reduction.
Sergio Cabañas, Executive Secretary of CONRED, presented the accreditations to 72 leaders and workers of the company as official members of Local Coordinators for Disaster Reduction.
The renewal of accreditations was for the communities of San Luis, Santa Fe, Los Encuentros, La Blanquita, Valle Lirio, Chiquirines, Morenas, Salinas I and II, and Colonia Barillas.
About the COLRED:
Since 2016, Banasa began the process of training Local Coordinators for Disaster Reduction, in order to provide local knowledge and skills to respond to emergencies and natural disasters.
Parents, teachers and students celebrated the 2018 graduation of the third class of Sexto Primaria of the Mojarras Mixed Rural Private School in Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The school is the result of an alliance between BANASA and Funcafé that began in 2010 with the purpose of raising the quality of education in rural areas of Guatemala Southwest.
The students enrolled in the Mojarras School are all children of BANASA employees. The school uses a proven teaching method that focuses on the student – addressing not only their academic performance, but also their role in their social and natural environment.
The school was founded to provide a better academic level in the area, contribute to community development and provide more opportunities for the local children. Many rural and indigenous children in Guatemala do not have the opportunity to get an education, as they have to work to assist their families’ survival. Of the 2 million children in Guatemala that do not attend school, the majority are girls living in rural areas.
“At the Mojarras School we provide a quality education for both girls and boys. We encourage all children to take advantage of this opportunity to get a good education, as well as learning leadership and life skills. A well-rounded education empowers girls in more ways than just learning to read and write,” stated Bernhard Roehrs, corporate director of BANASA.
The school strives to stay up to date with the latest educational developments and uses innovative techniques and methodologies based on an immersive experience centered on the student and his or her place in the community.
This student-centered instruction is a holistic approach focused on skills and practices that enable lifelong learning and independent problem-solving. The curriculum includes teaching human values and emphasizes the learner’s critical role in creating meaning from new information and prior experience, within the framework of their own lives.
It’s proven that access to education empowers girls and gives them an alternative to the traditional expectation. Parents are involved through their participation in the various activities at the school throughout the year and the parents of the students who graduated this month had reason to celebrate – they saw the results of their children’s hard work and commitment.
As part of the Mojarras Private School methodology, there is a School for Parents which consist of a space of information, training and reflection addressed to parents on aspects related to parental functions. It is a resource to support families so they can adequately develop their educational and social functions, and overcome situations of need and social risk.
The School for Parents is one of the preventive programs that contribute to behavior modifications and the acquisition of healthy family dynamics guidelines.
With these actions it has been possible to integrate the parents, thus helping the children’s education. Parents are now more aware of their role and join the teacher’s efforts of teachers.
Among the topics addressed in the School for Parents are: Parent School Organization, Communication and Family Unit, Home Revenue Administration, Responsible Parenthood, Child Labor Prevention, Domestic Violence, School Bullying, Preventive Health, Self-Esteem , Reproductive sexual education, Prevention of malnutrition, School-age child feeding, and School orchard.
Bananera Nacional, S.A., BANASA, in alliance with the Association of the Trifinio Suroccidente (ASODITSO) and the Institute of Climate Change (ICC) in Guatemala, started this year a new Diploma of “Community adaptation to climate change”. This is the second diploma course that is carried out in the southwestern area in order to strengthen the capacities of communities to adapt to the impacts of climate change and to learn about the importance of good risk management in vulnerable areas.
The diploma course began this month with the first module on integrated watershed management, with the specific topics of watershed diagnosis, its importance and methodology; how to develop a management plan for a basin; and definitions of climate change.
Three sessions were held by the ICC, which consisted of face-to-face classes, workshops and practical activities. For this first module, a field trip was conducted through the upper, middle and lower part of the Ocosito River basin, with the aim of putting into practice what participants learned.
More than 50 people are participating in the Diploma -BANASA workers, community leaders of 12 communities and Municipal Firemen.
“We thank BANASA for the great support they are giving to the communities and for taking us into account in this Diploma,” said the participant of the Municipal Firemen of Coatepeque.
The participating communities are San Luis, Pomal, Los Encuentros, Troje, San Rafel, Pacayá I, Valle Lirio, Colonia Diaz, Chiquirines, Carrizales, Morenas, Colonia Barillas and La Blanquita, from the municipalities of La Blanca, San Marcos; Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu, Retalhuleu.
Bernhard Roehrs, corporate director of BANASA, said that “these trainings are part of a comprehensive program of conservation of the environment and adaptation to climate change, which BANASA carries out with local actors, government institutions and non-governmental organizations.”
Helping young girls like Esther is an integral part of the Mojarras School methodology of the BANASA company. Genesis Esther is an elementary school girl who has been bullied about her disability – the fingers on one hand did not develop normally.
Because of this disability Esther didn’t want to go to school. She always covered her had with a washcloth, tried not to be noticed and would not participate or raise her hand to answer a question. She was afraid the children and the teachers would make comments about her hand and her parents were also concerned that she would be the target of bullying and discrimination at school.
Esther’s mother spoke to the Director of the Mojarras School and Esther’s teacher. “We both told her that there was nothing to fear and that we were going to change the way she felt about her hand,” said Natalie the Mojarras School Director. “We talked to the children and explained her disability and asked them not to discriminate or bully her because of her hand. They responded very positively, they are bright kids and they understood the problem.”
The teachers spent a lot of time counseling Esther and reinforcing her self-esteem. “She was a very shy girl, very secluded in the classroom,” said Natalie. “But over the course of the last year she began to unwind and one day she raised her hand to participate. What a lovely surprise that was for all of us.” Soon after that she was the first to say that she wanted to participate in a dance. Esther danced without covering her hand and the parents all enjoyed seeing her participate.
“Helping young girls like Esther brings us great satisfaction,” said Bernhard Roehrs, BANASA Corporate Director, “We’re delighted to be able to support and help young girls to overcome any issues that might create shyness or shame. Through the methodology used at the Mojarras School we promote values and develop self-esteem so that they become children without prejudice and they can attend school without any fear of bullying or discrimination.”
Esther’s mother said that she had wanted to take her daughter to another country to operate on the hand. The school director advised her to first talk to Esther and find out how she felt about that. Esther’s reaction was a concern about missing school and she said she did not want her hand operated on, as everyone accepted her as she was and no one bullied or teased her anymore. She has a positive outlook now and feels she is a special girl. “This is the way God made me and this is how I want to be,” said Esther.
Helping young girls who face cultural and physical difficulties is just one aspect of the education our employee’s children receive at the Mojarras School.
Two BANASA workers received the Labor Excellence Award from Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales on March 7th at a ceremony at the Courtyard for Peace of the National Palace of Culture, as part of International Women’s Day celebrations (March 8).
BANASA workers were selected for their initiative, capacity, discipline, efficiency, effectiveness, seniority, effort, customer service, punctuality, fellowship, and solidarity.
Vilma Chiroy and Elda Moreno work for BANASA’s operations in the Southwest of Guatemala; Irma Romero and Marcos Orellana work in Escuintla and Nancy Pineda and Brenda Quebedo, at the main office in Guatemala City.
The First Lady, Patricia de Morales, the Vice President, Jafeth Cabrera and the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Aura Leticia Teleguario, participated in the ceremony. They presented recognition medals to BANASA’S workers and to a total of 33 women from different disciplines in the private and public sectors.
President Morales congratulated and thanked the women who were honored as he underscored the need to promote changes to ensure better access to health, education, employment, security, housing and social welfare for women, without exclusion or discrimination.
The Labor Excellence Award was established through Ministerial Resolution 124-2004 and companies from the agricultural, commercial, industrial, service, and agro-industrial sectors, as well as government agencies, submit their nominations.
Irma Romero the worker who was honored for her seniority at BANASA stated: “I started to work in various capacities at Finca La Sierra eighteen years ago. Then I learned to select product and have been engaged in that task since then. I am motivated to come to work every day as this is my livelihood, which provides for a good quality of life with my family. Thanks to God and the company, my children were able to go to school and they were also given the opportunity to work for the Company”. Irma is 55 years old and thinks of herself as a “fighter”.
Our workers are at the core of our operations at BANASA; we mind their wellbeing and development and, beyond paying them a decent salary, we try to help them to grow personally and professionally. To accomplish this, we implement social programs for our workers and their families. “WE CONGRATULATE OUR WORKERS WHO RECEIVED THE LABOR EXCELLENCE AWARD, A WELL DESERVED RECOGNITION,” stated Bernhard Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA.
One of the United Nations’ sustainable development goals (SDGs) is the eradication of poverty worldwide. Educating girls is a central part of eradicating global poverty, according to the World Bank, because it has broad social implications.
At the Mojarras School in a rural village of southwest Guatemala, all children of Banasa´s employees have access to a quality education. Not only are they getting excellent academic instruction the teachers use an immersive technology that addresses social and personal development.
When Juliana Judith arrived at the school she stuttered and had difficulty speaking. At her previous school the other children had teased her and called her names. As a result, she was not keen to participate in class, which affected her academic progress.
At the Mojarras school her teacher encouraged Juliana with positive reinforcement, complimenting her on her intelligence. The teacher also explained that she should not worry about getting a little stuck in her speech, as this happens to some people. She continued to encourage Juliana to participate in the school activities, and it paid off.
“To our surprise Juliana volunteered to represent her grade in our celebrations at the national holidays in September,” said Natalie, the Director of the Mojarras School. “We talked to Juliana’s parents who were concerned about her speech difficulty, but when we asked Juliana again she was adamant that she wanted to participate.”
The teachers worked with her for three months preparing for the big day and, to everyone’s surprise, Juliana developed the theme she had been given in a positive way and when she made the presentation she spoke very well. She didn’t stutter at all.
1,278 children from six rural schools benefited from the BANASA food security program “One Banana a Day Changes Your Life.” Schools are located near BANASA operations, in the Departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.
This program aligns with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #2 – End Hunger and Achieve Food Security. It consists of the donation of bananas by BANASA to rural schools close to the operations of the company. BANASA donated 225,700 bananas this year.
The bananas provide a vital supplement to the students’ daily nutritional needs. Bananas have a high energy value (1.1-2.7 kcal / 100 g) and are an important source of both B and C vitamins. They contain numerous mineral salts, including iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium as well as three natural sugars: sucaro, fructose and glucose, combined with fiber.
According to USAID statistics, Guatemala has the highest prevalence of stunting (49.8 percent) in the region of the Americas and the sixth highest in the world. Half of all children under five are chronically malnourished, the worst level of malnutrition in the Western Hemisphere.
This lack of food security results in more than 45 Guatemalan children dying each day from causes related to malnutrition. Of the children who survive, 49.8% suffer from chronic malnutrition (SESAN). Chronic malnutrition (measured by height in relation to age) also causes less retention of information learned in school and lower productivity. In addition, it can also make the child more susceptible to diseases and cause a loss of IQ – effects which are not reversible.
Just one banana a day changes this scenario. A banana provides an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy and can help overcome and prevent diseases such as anemia, blood pressure, overweight, ulcers or stress. Not only does this program contribute to the nutrition and health of the students, it also improves their school performance. It is a proven fact that healthy eating affects academic performance.
The program, which is a joint effort of the Community Development Councils -COCODE, schools, parents and BANASA, also offers a preventive health component that involves the mothers of the students at these rural schools. At some schools, government agencies train teachers and mothers in nutrition, health and food safety issues.
When it began in 2012, this program was a partnership between BANASA and SESAN, the Nutritional Food Security Secretariat of Guatemala, to combat acute malnutrition among rural children. Participating teachers report, and test findings reveal, that the school performance of participating students has improved remarkably. At the program’s closing sessions for 2017 the efforts and organization of the school directors, parents and COCODE members in these communities were recognized.
This BANASA CSR initiative was recognized with a ‘Big Tick’ as part of the prestigious Responsible Business Awards 2014 run by the charity, Business in the Community. The ‘Big Tick’ is the first level of accolade in these awards, the UK’s longest-running and most respected awards program recognizing businesses that are making a positive difference to society and to the environment.
BANASA engineers shared their water management expertise on responsible and sustainable water practices at the 1st Integrated Water Management Congress held recently in Escuintla, Guatemala. The event was organized by CENGICAÑA, APIB, GREPALMA, ASAZGUA, and the Climate Change Research Institute (ICC).
Although Guatemala has ample rainwater, surface and groundwater, the country faces substantial resource and institutional challenges in national water management projects. The 150 delegates at the Congress represented a broad cross-section of those affected by these problems: agro-industrialists, members of municipalities, mayors, community and spiritual leaders, among others. The objective of the Congress was to ensure sustainable, productive water systems in the Southern Coast of Guatemala.
BANASA, a sustainable banana and vegetable oil company, participated in the session Advances in Irrigation, Storage, Conservation and Reuse of Water Systems. The water management topics addressed were:
– Water in the Southern Coast – current status
– Challenges and progress in integrated management; water and sanitation
– Legal and institutional considerations in the integrated management of water
– Water storage, diversion, transportation and distribution
– Water conservation and reuse
– Progress in irrigation systems
– Current and future risks
BANASA has invested in several smart irrigation techniques that have led to better use of water and improved energy consumption: sensors that sample and monitor moisture in the soil to regulate irrigation needs were implemented; a micro-spraying technology that allows optimized application of irrigation in plantations, using water more efficiently and reducing application times by 33%; probes that directly measure the moisture content of the soil in real time and deliver data that facilitates decision making.
BANASA has implemented other water re-utilization techniques, such as the use of reservoirs to collect water during the rainy season that can be used for irrigation when climate conditions require it and the reutilization of water in their packing plants, which saves 80 percent of the water needed there.
Banasa has an HIV/AIDS labor policy with the dignity of the person at its core, and which is based on national and international laws relating to HIV/AIDS and sexually transmitted diseases, the National Policy on Sexually Transmitted Infections, the set of practical recommendations of the International Labor Organization-ILO- on HIV/AIDS and other labor provisions.
Based on these premises, Banasa has trained its field and packing plant workers on HIV prevention; it has delivered informative lectures on the content of the policy and more recently implemented the “Hand-in-hand with HIV/AIDS Prevention” program in partnership with the Association of Independent Banana Growers (APIB), which includes training workers on HIV prevention, and free and voluntary testing.
More than 600 field and packing plants workers participated voluntarily in the “Take the Test” campaign. It consisted of HIV/AIDS testing and training on HIV awareness, technical concepts, human values, forms of transmission, prevention and respect and tolerance towards people with HIV.
“At Banasa we promote our HIV /AIDS policy with the dignity of the person, responsibility, solidarity, respect and trust at its core. This policy does not discriminate, it is managed confidentially. The necessary support is provided and prevention is promoted through training and workshops to help improve the quality of life of employees, their families and communities”, said Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA.
The content of the policy emphasizes that HIV testing is not a requirement to get a job or keep it; the policy applies to and benefits all staff, without distinction of gender or position; any current or future seropositive employee will be treated with respect, promoting non-discrimination within the work environment; worker HIV test results will be treated with strict confidentiality, and discriminatory behaviors against people affected by the virus will not be tolerated. Access to health services will be promoted for HIV patients, without prejudice to their job, position or salary.
In addition, Banasa also implements the APIB HIV /AIDS labor policy for the banana sector.
Workers of Bananera Nacional, S.A. -BANASA- and community leaders from the South-Western three-department region of Guatemala (Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos), participated in the Tenth National Forum on Social Responsibility: “Ethical Leadership to Transform Guatemala”, organized by the Social Responsibility Action Center in Guatemala-CentraRSE- at the invitation of BANASA and the Independent Banana Producers Association-APIB-.
The meeting was held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Guatemala City, with the participation of more than one thousand people from all sectors and world-class international speakers.
This meeting highlighted the need to act and assume the role of citizens, entrepreneurs, students and politicians to achieve the country’s sustainability in the long term, and led to reflecting on the importance of participating in the construction of the sustainable future for Guatemalan society, with ethics as the main pillar of action.
The lectures covered these topics: Ethics and its three dimensions, Ethical Leadership, Value Propositions, Business Management and Ethical Behavior Index Measurement.
“We are systemically unsustainable; that should be our starting point for talking about ethics. That is, we must change not only the actions but the model, which requires a lot of management, “said Francois Vallaeys, a philosopher specializing in University Social Responsibility (USR) and ethics applied to the management of organizations.
Companies must move from ethics, that is, doing good and doing things right, to a 3D ethics model where the three dimensions are: 1. Virtue = Personal Ethics. 2. Justice = Public Ethics. “I am a person, but I am also society”, and 3. Sustainability = Global Ethics.
The day before the meeting, BANASA workers and community leaders from this three-department region participated in a workshop on community relations, climate change mitigation and leadership, delivered by CentraRSE and the Climate Change Research Institute -ICC-.
Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA said: “We are happy to have participated in this event and to have invited a group of workers and community leaders to participate, since ethical leadership is part of the philosophy and DNA of BANASA, and community relations are a central pillar of our corporate social responsibility program.”
The Banasa Mojarras School, located in Los Encuentros, Coatepeque, was invited to present its reading methodology at the Preschool Congress organized by Funcafé in Guatemala City. The objective of the presentation was to demonstrate the positive results of the “emerging” methodology and to promote its implementation at the national level.
The teacher and students of the Mojarras Pre-School participated in the demonstration accompanied by parents. The emerging reading methodology used in the school allows interpreting symbols, enriching vocabulary, establishing a relationship between images and illustrations etc. through reading aloud, as well as the development of different strategies that facilitate the learning of reading and writing.
The event was held at the Guatemalan Coffee Association facilities in Guatemala City and was attended by authorities from the Ministry of Education, International Cooperation, USAID, diplomatic corps, among other guests.
Through the implementation of innovative practices and a cutting-edge methodology, BANASA’s Mojarras School contributes to raising the academic level in the south-western departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.
At the Mojarras School, the education of students is delivered through an active methodology which consists of a teaching model focused on the student and his/her social and natural environment. Recreational and cultural activities are carried out with students as part of this methodology, and human values are incorporated into the learning process. It also includes the participation of parents in the different activities of the school throughout the year.
The Department-level Director of the Ministry of Education in Retalhuleu congratulated the school’s teachers and schoolmasters for their methodology and the modern and functional infrastructure of the school.
Gustavo Bolaños, President of BANASA, said: “The Mojarras School was established with the objective of improving the academic level in the southwestern region, contributing to community development and providing higher quality educational opportunities in the area.
The Mojarras School of Banasa, created for the children of its workers, currently has more than 180 students, up to 6th grade. Funcafé implements the methodology through an agreement signed with the banana company BANASA.
For more information on Banasa’s social programs, visit https://www.banasa.net/rse/
The Assembly general meeting of Cooperativa Mi Gente, of BANASA, was held in order to report on the outcomes of one year; the projections for the following year and the benefits received by its members. The new Board of Directors, which was introduced at the meeting, is formed by BANASA workers who are in charge of Management and of making decisions for the Cooperative. 73% of the workers of BANASA are members of Cooperativa Mi Gente.
BANASA promote the participation of its workers in the cooperative since members can obtain very favorable benefits such as acquiring basic consumption goods almost at cost; funerary service bneefits; loans at lower-than-bank rates; and savings at rates which are more favorable than market rates.
“Saving is one of the main benefits promoted by the Company among its workers”, said Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA. “And this can be accomplished more effectively through the Cooperative. At BANASA we care about the wellbeing of our workers and about the development of the community.”
Cooperativa Mi Gente is another one of BANASA’s social programs and part of its Corporate Social Responsibility in Guatemala.
A Cooperative is a group of persons who are self-organized, duly legalized, and who work to meet common objectives and pursue the dreams of its members.
Under the principles of freedom of association and democratic participation, a cooperative makes a contribution to the wellbeing of workers, and its operations influence better revenue use and performance, which leads to decent life for the workers, their families and communities.
Savings and loan cooperatives focus on helping their members to save, obtain loans and receive affordable financial services.
The BANASA Human Development Center, located in the village of Los Encuentros, in Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango works in partnership with the University of Colorado to implement the “Creciendo Sanos” (Growing up Healthy) program for children up to three years of age, with the aim of contributing to their healthy growth and development.
Within the framework of BANASA’s food and nutritional security program, “Growing up healthy” also helps to reduce malnutrition in the area and improve health and nutrition in rural areas of Southwestern Guatemala. At the same time, the program joins in the efforts to achieve United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Banasa signed an agreement with the University of Colorado to carry out this program. Doctors from the University train mothers about newborn danger signs, early stimulation techniques, breastfeeding, nutrition, personal hygiene and disease prevention. Weight and height measurement rounds and home visits are also conducted to monitor the development and growth of children.
The program is open to the children of Banasa workers and to all the families of neighboring communities who wish to participate.
Recently, the first group of 115 children who finished the zero to three years of age program achieved a satisfactory level of growth and development. In an event which included the mothers of these children, community leaders, representatives of Banasa and doctors from the University of Colorado, diplomas were given to the 115 children. Banasa’s production manager said: “We are interested in the well-being of our employees; we carry out programs in preventive health, nutrition and food security to help our workers and their families and contribute to improve their quality of life.”
The participating children belong to the communities of Chiquirines, Carrizales, Pomal, Santa Fe, Barillas, Palmar, San Luis, Morenas, Valle Lirio, Colonia Diaz and Troje, belonging to the municipalities of Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango; La Blanca, San Marcos; And Retalhuleu, Retalhuleu.
Through the implementation of novel practices and a state-of-the-art methodology, the Mojarras school, which belongs to BANASA, helps to raise the academic level of three Southwestern departments of Guatemala: Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.
At the Mojarras school, students are educated through an active methodology that involves a teaching model which focuses on the student and his/her social and natural environment. Recreation and cultural activities are carried out with the students. The methodology includes teaching human values. Parents are involved through their participation in the various activities of the school throughout the year.
The last activity where students, teachers and parents participated was the activity sponsored by Funcafé that highlighted the accomplishments of the school readiness program called “Coffee Kindergarten”, under the education component, in the framework of the Rural Value Chains – PCVR/USAID. The teachers and the students of the Mojarras school traveled 6 hours by bus from Coatepeque to Guatemala City to make a demonstration of the method used to teach reading. The event took place in the facilities of Anacafé, with the participation of Ministry of Education authorities, International Cooperation, diplomatic corps, Banasa employees, among other guests.
The department-level Director of the Ministry of Education of Retalhuleu congratulated the teachers and principal of the school for the method employed and the modern and functional infrastructure of the school.
The President of BANASA, Gustavo Bolaños, explained that the Mojarras school was created to raise the academic level in the three departments of the South Western region of the country, to make a contribution to community development and to offer more good quality education opportunities.
You can learn more about the Corporate Social Responsibility programs of BANASA for their people and community development. https://www.banasa.net/en/rse
BANASA’s Food and Nutrition Security Program “One banana a day”, which complements children’s school snacks, began in March in the municipalities of Ayutla, San Marcos and Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu. Other schools in Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango will be added to the program this month.
The program consists in a donation of bananas to schools as a nutritional complement for the student’s daily snack, accompanied by preventive health activities. Parents, school principals and communities organize themselves to coordinate the logistics and operation of the program.
In school Los Angeles, Ayutla, San Marcos, parents and teachers also organized themselves to make banana smoothies that they gave the children while they took their school snack.
For more information, you can go to the website of the program and download the manual. You can also request information at firstname.lastname@example.org.
BANASA, the banana-growing company, in partnership with the Asociación del Trifinio Suroccidente –ASODITSO (for its initials in Spanish)-, the Association of Independent Banana Producers –APIB (for its initials in Spanish)- and the Institute of Climate Change -ICC- carried out the diploma course “Community Adaptation to Climate Change” during 8 months. It was aimed at BANASA workers and community leaders of the Guatemala southwestern “trifinio” (place where three departments meet), with the objective of strengthening local capacities and adopting adaptation measures in the face of imminent climate change.
The programme was under the responsibility of the ICC and covered comprehensive basin management, adaptation measures to climate change and risk disaster management. The methodology consisted of lectures, field visits and practical activities.
The General Director of the Institute of Climate Change, Alex Guerra, BANASA’s Chairman, Gustavo Bolaños, representatives of the municipality of La Blanca, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture, MAGA, and community leaders from the communities of Pomal, Carrizales, Valle Lirio, El Reparo, Colonia Díaz, Villa Flores, Morenas, Los Encuentros, Troje, Tilapa, Santa Fe, Palmar II, Pueblo Nuevo, Cerritos, Chiquirines, Colonia Barillas, of the municipalities of Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango; La Blanca, San Marcos; and Retalhuleu, Retalhuleu participated in the closing ceremony of the Diploma during the third week of December.
In his closing speech, Gustavo Bolaños said: “At BANASA we support this type of training because we believe it is important to be informed and prepared in the face of climate change, as well as being united before any event.”
The representative of the Municipality of La Blanca, San Marcos, and graduated from the Diploma program, said: “We appreciate BANASA’s support because if this company did not exist in the area, I dare say, what will 80% of our farmers be doing?”
BANASA, in partnership with the University of Colorado, opened a new childbirth center, an addition to its existing Health Clinic located in Los Encuentros, Coatepeque. The center is specially designed for BANASA workers and their families, but is also open to the 12 neighboring communities that will now have access to affordable, safe and clean health services, pre-and post-natal care and adequate delivery facilities.
The new Childbirth Center opened on November 10, 2016 and is the most recent addition to the Human Development Center -HDC- which opened in March 2014. The HDC has a school for the children of BANASA workers, a Health Clinic, laboratory services, ultrasound and pharmacy, and maternal and child health programs. Scientific research by the University of Colorado is also conducted at the HDC to help to better understand health problems in the region and help create long-term solutions for community members.
The BANASA Health Clinic and Childbirth Center will provide care for mothers before, during and after giving birth and for the healthy development of children up to 3 years of age.
Pregnant women will be cared for by trained nurses from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Professional Midwives’ Program of the University of Colorado, and will also have the support of attending physicians.
“With the opening of the Childbirth Center we seek to improve maternal health and reduce child mortality in the area”, said Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA.” Caring for the communities where we operate is another way for BANASA to operate responsibly.”
The BANASA banana company carried out events to close the 2016 school year and its “One Banana a Day Changes your Life” program, through which it donated more than 82,400 bananas to 4,175 children from 7 schools.
The food and nutrition security program, A Banana a Day Changes your Life, is carried out together with Community Development Councils -COCODES- and participating schools. BANASA donates bananas to schools throughout the year as a nutritional supplement for schoolchildren daily inputs. This endeavor is supported with preventive health activities that teachers and mothers participate in. The aim of the program is to contribute to the nutrition and school performance of children.
The schools Salinas I, Salinas II, Mojarras, Los Ángeles, Almendrales, Fe y Alegría y Horizontes, from the municipalities of La Blanca and Ayutla in the departments of San Marcos and Retalhuleu, participated in the program. During the events to close the school year, the effort and organization by the schoolmasters, parents and members of COCODES to carry out the program in their communities was recognized.
Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of BANASA, said that “it is a good program because mothers have become aware of the importance of feeding healthy food to their children, instead of junk food, and evidence has shown that the nutritional value of bananas contributes to the nutrition of children and improves their school performance.”
Two students from Banasa’s School Mojarras won recognition as fourth and fifth grade best readers in the southwestern region of Guatemala, in Funcafe’s Third Reading Contest.
The jury graded expression, accuracy and speed reading. In addition, the winners surpassed the reading standards established by the Ministry of Education.
Funcafé carried out the third reading contest in the 38 municipalities it covers, which involved 122 schools in rural areas and gave prizes to the first three places in each grade at the regional level.
“We are very happy with these achievements, because the winners are our worker’s children and the aim of this school is to provide a better academic level to the area, to have an impact on the development of communities,” said Bernardo Roehrs, Banasa’s CEO.
Banasa has an agreement with Funcafé, who provide their teaching methodology, as the pedagogics they use focuses on students, social and natural environment and has become a model for other schools.
At present, Banasa’s School Mojarras, has more than 170 children, they are all workers’ children.
Banasa works in partnership with the world organization World Wildlife Fund -WWF- to implement practices that promote the sustainable use of resources.
WWF installed a weather station on one of Banasa’s farms to implement a model for the control of the Sigatoka disease based on climate information, which will allow to make agricultural decisions for the better use of resources.
The plantain growers of the area visited the meteorological station installed in Banasa to understand how it operates and were very grateful with the company, stating that it is a very useful tool.
WWF trained Banasa’s workers and local plantain growers on the use of an advanced model to control Sigatoka in plantations of both crops, through sustainable environmental practices.
The National Disaster Reduction Coordinator-CONRED-, in partnership with ASODITSO and the support of BANASA and Agroaceite, accredited 92 people of 12 communities of municipalities La Blanca, Coatepeque and Retalhuleu as members of the Local Disaster Reduction Coordinator-COLRED.
The communities that now have COLRED are Los Encuentros, Santa Fe, San Luis, El Pomal, Valle Lirio, La Blanquita, Las Morenas, Salinas I, Salinas II, Colonia Barillas, Palmar II and Chiquirines.
Since, January of this year, CONRED and the Southwestern Trifinio Integral Development Association- ASODITSO-, with BANASA and AGROACEITE’s support have been training new COLRED’s members on the following issues: disaster risk reduction management; functioning and methodology for local coordinators; risk diagnosis, types of shelters and how to organize them; climate change, their causes and adaptation, COLRED commissions (evacuation, rescue, shelters, safety and coordination) and local response plans.
The aim of COLRED is to give support to the communities during natural disasters and organize them to learn to react in the correct right way to an event, and if necessary, provide the first response, in coordination with municipal or departmental authorities.
“We thank CONRED for transferring knowledge for COLRED’s formation, because we are an area vulnerable to flooding and we should be prepared for winter,” said ASODITSO president, Felino Sandoval. “We also appreciate BANASA and Agroaceite’s support for coordinating and managing the entire accreditation process and congratulate the municipalities of La Blanca, Coatepeque and Retalhuleu for their support in organizing the accreditation’s event.”
The banana grower, BANASA, in partnership with the Independent Banana Producers Association – APIB- invited workers and community leaders of Guatemala’s southwest trifinio (place where 3 departments meet), to participate in the IX National Forum on Corporate Social Responsibility “Ethical People, Ethical Companies” organized by the Centre for Social Responsibility Action -CentraRSE- in Guatemala, last August 4 in Guatemala City.
The aim of this forum was to promote at the multi-sectorial level, ethics for fighting corruption. According to speakers, companies that are based on values and principles are able to be more competitive, are recognized by their stakeholders and in turn get more credibility and recognition to reach new markets.
BANASA promotes ethics in its internal and external operations. That is why we invited workers and community leaders from villages Las Morenas, Salinas I, Colonia Barillas, Chiquirines, Carrizales, Pueblo Nuevo, Los Encuentros, Villa Flores, Pacayá I and II, Troje, Santa Fe, San Luis, Pomal, Esmeralda, Valle Lirio, La Blanquita and Caballo Blanco of the departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.
“In BANASA, we also promote dialogue, as the road to development,” said Bernardo Roehrs, BANASA’s Corporate Director, “and community leaders are key players for the development of their communities; It is why as part of our community relations, we invited a group of leaders to participate in the workshop: Dialogue between communities: a model for development”, organized by APIB, in the framework of the National CSR Forum.
The banana producer in Guatemala, BANASA, opened a weather station that provides climate information in the area and will allow establishing sustainable practices for the use of resources.
The weather station has sensors that provide data on rainfall, wind speed and direction, relative humidity, temperature, solar radiation and atmospheric pressure.
Banasa has made an alliance with the Institute of Climate Change -ICC- to be part of the network of meteorological stations, where every 15 minutes climate information is updated, allowing better monitoring.
The director of the ICC, the Executive Director of the Association of Independent Banana Producers –(APIB for its initials in Spanish)- and Banasa’s Sigatoka Head, cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the weather station, located in Chiquirines, La Blanca, San Marcos . The participants of the diploma Course on Climate Change also attended the event.
With the aim of recognizing the work made by the workers of BANASA on the past year, the company held the seventh delivery of the prize to the productivity, which recognizes good performance of employees who reached their goals last year. The award recognized 320 field and packing plants workers, who were creditors of a cash bonus.
The award to the productivity emerged in 2010 in the date of the anniversary of the death of the founder of BANASA, Fernando Bolaños, highlighting the values bequeathed by his example of life which have become the Corporation values: perseverance, hard work, teamwork, honesty, responsibility and generosity.
Authorities of the company and representatives of some municipalities and community development councils – COCODES – attended the event. BANASA is one of the few companies in Guatemala that has international certifications, “we are a company who projects itself internationally and has certifications in the social, environmental, community, industrial and occupational safety areas,” Roehrs said.
Gustavo Bolaños, President of Agro-plantations, thanked all contributors that with their daily work make of BANASA one of the best banana companies of the region: “we are committed to improve the lives of our workers and their families and to provide worthy employment to guatemalans”.
In partnership with the Institute of Climate Change – ICC – and the Association of Independent Banana Producers – APIB-, BANASA started the course “Community Adaptation to Climate Change”, addressed to workers of BANASA and leaders of 13 communities in the southwest region of Guatemala, in the departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu. The course will cover three modules on integrated watershed management and sustainable development; adaptation to climate change; natural disaster risk management and water storage. It will take place from March to November 2016 and will include 9 face-to-face sessions and field trips.
A representative of the municipality of Coatepeque indicated that “it is important to work together to protect the environment, hence the need for this diploma”. In the first meeting of March, many workers of the company attended, along with leaders from the communities of Villa Flores, Morenas, Palmar II, El Reparo, Encuentros, Carrizales, Barillas, Valle Lirio, Pomal, Chiquirines, Tilapa, Esmeralda and Cerritos. It also featured the participation of representatives of the municipalities of Coatepeque, La Blanca and Retalhuleu.
Banasa, in partnership with the University of Colorado and Davita, conducted a free day of screening for more than 900 field and packing plant workers, with the purpose to learn about their health state and provide medical advice.
The day consisted of a general assessment, checking blood pressure, weight/height, and blood and urine tests. Prior to this, an initial diagnosis was made to each contributor, which included a survey of their daily activities, eating habits, medical history, illnesses, etc. Each employee was given his/her diagnosis with their corresponding medical recommendations.
The day was held at the medical clinic of the Center of Human Development at BANASA, located in Los Encuentros and open to the public.
In the video below, you can listen to the testimony of one of Banasa’s workers who explains that this day was a great effort from the company and how it was beneficial for all workers.
Banasa, along with the National Coordinating Committee for Disaster Reduction – CONRED- and the Trifinio Association, carried out a three-day course to form local coordinators for the reduction of disasters – COLRED-. During the workshops, more than 70 people, including BANASA employees and community leaders of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos and Retalhuleu, were trained on issues regarding safety and disaster prevention.
CONRED led trainings in order to help communities reduce the impact of natural disasters and to help them learn organize themselves in case of emergencies. Many issues were addressed, such as management for the reduction of risk from disasters, performance and methodology of local coordinators, risk diagnosis for their communities, climate change, shelters, earthquake drills, community organization and leadership.
The event included the special collaboration of the health area of Retalhuleu, which trained the attendees on recognizing the symptoms and preventing diseases such as Dengue, Chikungunya, and Zika.
The activity involved the communities located in the southwestern region of Guatemala: Morenas, Colonia Barillas, Palmar I y II, Chiquirines, Colonia Díaz, Carrizales, Los Encuentros, San Rafael Pacayá, San Vicente Pacayá I y II, Troje, Santa Fe, San Luis, Pomal, Salinas I y II, Cerritos, Pueblo Nuevo, Villa Flores, Esmeralda, El Refugio, Valle Lirio and La Blanquita.
“This training was very helpful for us because we learned new things to transmit it to our communities and to be prepared for natural disasters in 2016; Thank you for the opportunity”, said a community leader from Los Encuentros, Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, at the closing ceremony of the event.
Banasa, in coordination with dentists from the University of Colorado, carried out three dental days in the clinic of the Center for Human Development, in which more than 50 patients from the communities located in the Trifinio Region (the meeting point between the three departments of San Marcos, Quetzaltenango and Retalhuleu) received treatment. In these days they held consults, cleanings, filling of cavities and tooth extractions.
About the clinic of the Center for Human Development:
The medical clinic of the Center for Human Development is part of the integral vision Banasa has to improve the quality of life and contribute to the development of its employees, their families and their communities. Banasa made an alliance with the University of Colorado, who provides specialized and high quality medical advice.The clinic has resident doctors from the University of Colorado who assist patients, along with Guatemalan doctors. Currently the clinic offers medical consults, laboratory tests, ultrasounds, pharmacy, ambulance and periodic dental days. Opening hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm to the public. For more information, you may telephone 5019 – 1107.
Students from Escuela Mojarras, school for Banasa’s workers children, participated in the Second Reading Competition organized by Funcafé. A school student won first place for Best Elementary Fourth Grade Reader in the southwestern region, with the participation of schools from five municipalities.
The competition was held in 38 municipalities of Guatemala with participation of a total of 122 rural area schools. Awards were given to the first three places of each grade. Two students from First and Third Grade Escuela Mojarras won third place in the southwestern region.
The contest rates expression, accuracy and speed. Winning students reading exceeded the standard established by the Ministry of Education.
About Escuela Mojarras
Escuela Mojarras was founded by Banasa in 2010 and currently has 165 children, which are all worker’s children. The school’s objective is to give the children a better academic level in order to have an impact in the development of the communities.
Banasa signed an agreement with Funcafé, who provides the methodology that focuses on the student and their social and natural environment. Escuela Mojarras has been a model for other schools in the area.
Banasa has trained its mid-level workers in good practices in order to promote a responsible and safe production and marketing of bananas. This is to be achieved through high standards of safety, quality, environmental practices, and hygiene.
The training was conducted by the company Potentz Chemistry, which addressed issues of good agricultural practices, manufacturing, hygiene and identification of checkpoints among other issues.
The employees who have already been trained will become replicators in their work areas.
Employees from BANASA’s environment, corporate social responsibility, pests and production areas, participated in a course on Climate Change, organized by the Independent Banana Producers Association-APIB-, and conducted by the Private Research Institute on Climate Change -ICC-
The objective of the course was to develop capacities for adaptation to climate change and support its incorporation to the business environment under ethical – scientific grounds.
The main topics covered were: adaptation and vulnerability to climate change, mitigation, natural disasters, hydrometereological hazards, risk management and early warning system
In order to contribute to the nutrition and welfare of children that are in the public hospitals of Quetzaltenango, near the company’s operations, Bananera Nacional -BANASA- donated bananas to the Secretariat of Food and Nutritional Security –SESAN-, to be distributed in such hospitals.
The health centers benefited were Dr. Rodolfo Robles National Hospital, the Department of Pediatrics of the Hospital of Coatepeque and Quetzaltenango’s Regional Hospital.
“Banasa continuously forms partnerships with SESAN on food and nutrition security issues. Preventive health training programs for mothers and nutritional care for the children living in the communities surrounding Banasa, have been carried out. This time we donated bananas to public hospitals”, informed Bernardo Roehrs, Banasa’s corporate director.
Banasa, the Bananera Nacional Company, trained this month its midlevel management on Human Development which included topics about the importance, forms, process and impact of communication, and how to align it in the workplace with the company’s culture.
The training was conducted by experts in organization and human development. The participants were given tools that contribute to their comprehensive development.
“The company gives monthly trainings to its employees on technical and human value topics to generate results and give them the opportunity for personal and professional growth”, stated Bernhard Roehrs, Banasa Corporate Director.
Bananera Nacional, S. A. (Banasa) contributed to make a 30 thousand plant nursery in the Agronomy Institute (ITAC) in San Marcos which will be used to reforest the banks of rivers Suchiate, Naranjo and Pacaya. It also supported several activities in the municipalities of La Blanca and Ayutla to promote the project among the villagers and raise awareness on the conservation of the environment.
Aroldo Cordero, mayor of La Blanca, San Marcos said: “We are proud of this partnership with Banasa”. He added: “Banasa’s collaboration with the program will promote the conservation of the environment and the habitat of various species of animals.”
This project was coordinated with government, academia and private sector institutions, including Banasa, Banrural, the Ministry of Social Development (Mides), Agronomy Institute, the Ministry of Agriculture , Food and Livestock (MAGA) and the Ministry of Education.
This month more than 1400 children from Guatemala’s southwest were added to Banasa’s Nutritious School program A Banana A Day Changes Your Life. With this program rural schools receive bananas during the school year as a nutritious complement to children’s snacks, coupled with trainings and talks on preventive health, given by local health officials to promote food and nutritional security in the area.
The beneficiary schools are Salinas I, Palmar II, Los Angeles, Esquipulas, Limoncitos and Escuela Fernando Bolaños, attended mostly by the children of our employees who reside in the departments of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos and Retalhuleu.
The director of the Salinas I School, in La Blanca, San Marcos, said: At the school we organize the collection of the bananas at the packing plant, we ripen them and then we prepare a shake for the children. We are eternally grateful to Banasa because this project helps improve our children’s nutrition.
Mothers participate in preparing the shakes and benefit from the trainings in preventive health. Additionally, there are regular deworming campaigns and height and weight monitoring to determine if children are within normal growth parameters. This way the impact on students’ development of the nutritional complement donated by Banasa can be measured throughout the year.
With the recent opening of the “Mi Gente” cooperative in another one of Banasa’s farms, the company expanded the coverage of this service.
Almost 75% of Banasa’s workers are members of “Mi Gente,” which offers employees below market interest rate loans, preferential savings rates, and the purchase of staples, appliances, motorcycles and bicycles at low cost.
Farm production manager said that by the end of 2015 the cooperative will be available in 100% of Banasa farms. “We are opening a coop in this farm so that all its members (Banasa workers) benefit from it. Soon it will operate in all of our farms.”
“Mi Gente” aims to promote the personal, economic and entrepreneurial development of workers. It promotes values, ethics, solidarity and honesty as the key to its success.
Jenifer Marisol, a worker at the farm stated: I am grateful to be a member of the coop since prices there are better than at other places. This cooperative is a great help to farm workers.
Representatives of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) visited Banasa’s operations and see first hand its agricultural, industrial, environmental and social responsibility practices, exchange experiences and jointly promote initiatives that foster development to the communities surrounding Banasa.
The visit included a tour to the banana farms, a meeting with local area community leaders and visits to some of the social responsibility programs.
Diego Recalde, FAO representative in Guatemala, said:
It has been a good visit to Banasa. We were able to see very important aspects of their corporate social responsibility program, labor practices, sustainable production, and the open communication they have with communities. Banasa has high standards in quality and efficiency, and international certifications that allow it to operate in an orderly, productive and successful way. As FAO we can see several opportunities from this visit, it is a win-win situation, as it means a starting point. We are grateful for the invitation and happy to have come.
FAO supports the national strategy that aims to reduce the level of chronic malnutrition, fight food insecurity, promote the sustainable use of natural resources, facilitate local development strategies and contribute to democratic governance.
UNDP is a development partner that provides technical assistance in areas covering economic issues, social transformation, environmental sustainability and democratic governance, and contributes to the development and implementation of plans and capacities to respond to this reality.
At the opening of the remodeled area of Cerritos school, the president of BANASA handed out 400 toys to celebrate Christmas with children of that community. He also made available the clinic of the Human Development Center that BANASA built for the benefit of its employees and the surrounding communities.
“As part of our health projects, we have the medical clinic of the Human Development Center, where our workers can go and get care for their families, and which also is available for communities’ residents,” stated the President of the banana company. “We also have the nutritious school snack program that seeks to improve children’s health and nutrition. The company keeps good relations with neighboring communities and aims to provide more jobs in the area. I congratulate the Mayor for remodeling the sports field, which helps promote school sports and is also an area for community activities”.
Jorge Robles, president of the COCODE of Cerritos, La Blanca, said: “on behalf of the community, we thank BANASA for contributing to the school snack project because it is of great benefit for the children’s health. We also appreciate the donation of toys for our children, God bless you”.
Banasa carried out in 2014, the Nutritious School Snack program to complement the snack the children receive during the school year and contribute to fight malnutrition in the area.
890 Children from Cerritos, Los Angeles, and Salinas 1, communities close to Banasa’s operations in San Marcos, benefitted from this donation. This initiative was implemented in partnership with school boards, parents and the Ministry of Development.
The program was reinforced with health and nutrition training and home visits to the student’s mothers. With the aim of improving preventive and maternal health, hygiene, school performance, children’s rights and gender equality.
Leticia Rivera, Los Angeles School Principal in Ayutla, San Marcos, says: “This project has been of great benefit because we have used the bananas to give the children their school snack in smoothies, with cream or milk. We have learned different ways to prepare them. We thank Banasa for their support because the school snack has helped children to perform better and pay more attention in class”.
Banasa is implementing preventive actions to reduce the threat of diseases to its banana crops, based on technical procedures to detect and reduce the risk of entry of diseases mainly that of the Panama disease or tropical race 4, which is already present in regions of Asia and Africa.
Banasa has implemented a ditch with an eco-friendly disinfectant solution, to sterilize the wheels of the vehicles entering the farm and thus minimizing the risk of transmitting any disease to the banana crop.
Also, shoes sanitizers were installed at all entrances of the plantations and packing plants to desinfect the footwear. Both the field and administrative staff, and visitors must comply with this standard.
On the other hand, trainings have been given to the workers on the technical aspects of the Panama disease, its implications, and how to prevent it. So that workers are aware of how serious and critical the problem actually is.
Banasa contributed financially to the Foundation Elecciones Infantiles to give the course “Children in Action” to fifth and sixth grade students of all the country’s department capitals that will finish at the end of this month.
In addition to financial contributions, Banasa has promoted that the scholarships be given to children in the communities where its employees live, which is why the course is currently being taught in school Fernando Bolaños in the trifinio, in the country’s southwest, and schools Los Encuentros, Coatepeque; Chiquirines and Colonia Barillas, of municipality La Blanca, so that more communities close to the company operations can participate.
The course is held every Saturday morning, and lasts six months. Each student received textbooks for the subjects: leadership and social skills; identity, pluralism and diversity; violence prevention and peace building; citizenship, democracy and institutional participation; and life project.
The graduating children of the course will have a very important role in their areas of influence, and they can transmit what they have learned in their schools and communities, and also by setting an example. The results have also been measured through an evaluation system unit that evaluates knowledge of values, changes in attitudes and behavior of students.
Rogelio Ochoa, a parent of Los Encuentros, said: “Committed young people are being trained, this is very important because they are the future leaders of our communities. I thank Banasa who always gives us support and now they have brought this course to our community to educate our children and benefit the development of the communities. ”
Foundation Elecciones Infantiles is a non-profit, non-political and secular private institution; its mission is to be a leader in promoting civic education and democratic values in Guatemala. All in order to prepare future citizens and encourage their enthusiasm for the national identity.
Banasa together with the Independent Banana Producers Association -APIB- implemented the “Hand in hand with HIV prevention” program in which training and free HIV testing were given.
More than 500 workers were trained and tested for HIV, voluntarily. The policy for HIV prevention in the workplace was implemented in order to prevent disease in employees, their families and communities, and provide a healthier workplace and contribute to improve their quality of life.
A Monitoring Committee for the HIV Policy Implementation was formed, which was trained by APIB on program implementation: training modules, methodology and teaching materials were provided to all employees.
The “Hand in hand with HIV prevention” program features the following phases:
•Phase I: Workers survey → workers were interviewed to measure their degree of knowledge of HIV.
•Phase II: Trainings: Eight training units on raising HIV awareness, technical concepts, human values, transmission ways, prevention and respect and tolerance for people with HIV.
•Phase III: HIV Tests: the campaign “Take the Test” was carried out and more than 500 tests were given to Banasa workers.
Leslie Gramajo packing plant worker, said: “I thank Banasa for all the lectures about HIV because in the communities where we live we do not get this information and now we know what HIV is, how it is transmitted, how to prevent it and they have also taught us about values such as loyalty, respect and tolerance and how important it is to live them. I encourage you to continue with these trainings because it is important that everyone in the company is aware about HIV for the welfare of our families.”
We have a water purification project at our facility; the benefits of this project include both sanitation and environmental improvements. Water is then packaged and provided free of charge to our employees.
The greatest benefits within a supply chain are derived by extending one´s focus as far as possible upstream toward the raw materials, downstream toward the consumer, and then back again as the product and its wastes are recycled.
We currently have recycling projects in all our farms, where there are properly trained individuals who know about the benefits that recycling brings to the environment and the company.
In order to help reduce malnutrition in the area and improve food security, BANASA donates bananas to public schools during the school year. It also creates partnerships with government institutions and civil society to train and empower mothers and teachers on preventive health and nutrition.
This project was awarded by Unilever International Awards with a Big Tick.
Along with the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction CONRED and Community Development Committees, COCODES, FRUTERA has created a network with local stakeholders and the Local Coordinator for Disaster Reduction -COLRED- to support communities in case of natural disasters and organize them to learn on how to react in case of a disaster.
Ongoing labor training development programs are carried out at all levels, from the board of directors to the field workers. Among the subjects taught are: human values, HIV/AIDS prevention, civics, ethics and technical subjects.
In coordination with the Health Ministry and NGOs, BANASA regularly conducts medical missions in which provides free medical and eye check to company employees and their families and deworming children.
Periodically, BANASA along with community leaders, teachers and health centers, carries out free community fumigation events days for the prevention of infections caused by mosquitoes that transmit dengue fever and other epidemics.
Ongoing labor training development programs are carried out at all levels, from the board of directors to the field workers. Among the subjects taught are: human values, HIV/AIDS prevention, civics, ethics and technical subjects.
In the farms, BANASA has a cooperative in order to promote savings and help improve the living conditions of its workers and their families. Members are given facility to purchase housing, land, cars, appliances, etc. at very low financing cost. It also has a savings program and posthumous help.
Each year BANASA gives out an award to workers who reach productivity goals, evaluating aspects such as discipline, collaboration, exemplary conduct, values of the business and productivity. MORE THAN 1,400 EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN AWARDED
Banasa together with USAID|Alianzas, handed out 540 saving stoves for employees’ wives, and community mothers in villages in Quetzaltenango and San Marcos, with the aim of contributing to the household economy. These stoves can save up to 65% on the purchase of firewood and prevents deforestation and respiratory illnesses by eliminating the smoke inside the rooms of the house.
“We are very pleased by the work that Banasa gives our husbands,” said Maria Vasquez, “these stoves will be of great benefit for our well-being because when we cook there is a lot of smoke in the house that affects our children, now they will no longer breathe that smoke and we will also save because we won’t have to buy firewood.“
The palm production manager said: “Banasa is a socially responsible company with the communities, but especially with the workers, because the responsibility begins at home. With this project we promote family savings, fewer respiratory diseases and contribute to the conservation of the environment, by avoiding cutting trees for firewood. “
USAID Alianzas provides funding from the United States to programs focused on health and education to improve the conditions of the country. That is why Banasa obtained funds to hand out 540 saving stoves.
All Banasa’s farms are certified RFA.
RFA certifies goods and services produced in compliance with strict guidelines protecting the environment, wildlife, workers, and local communities.This certification verifies that products have been grown using environmentally responsible practices such as soil and water conservation, fair labor practices, and good community relations.
All Banasa’s farms are certified Global Gap.
This certification is awarded to companies that demonstrate standards of good agricultural practices which contribute to product quality, minimize negative environmental impacts of farming operations, and ensure a responsible approach to worker health and safety.
BASC Is a business-customs partnership created to promote safe international trade in cooperation with governments and international organizations.
Corporate participants are expected to follow BASC’s security standards which are designed to improve their security practices and in the process deter contraband smugglers and terrorists from using their companies to introduce contraband and implements of terror in legitimate shipments.
Banasa, together with USAID|Alianzas donated 690 filters to families in communities near its operations. This donation seeks to reduce the incidence of diarrhea and other intestinal infections by 50% and improve food security, by bringing clean water to over 3,000 people in the rural area of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
USAID |Alianzas grants funds from the United States to programs focused on health and education to improve the lives of Guatemalans. That is why Banasa has obtained funding to deliver filters to rural people.
Julia Alonzo Cabrera, a mother beneficiary from village San Luis, Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, said: Now we will see the difference because now we have clean drinking water, we will reduce costs and most important our families will be healthy.
Ecofiltro, the filter’s company, trained families in the use and maintenance of filters and organized communities to foster a savings plan to replace the filter unit every two years and ensure the proper functioning of the filters. Each community made a token payment and the proceeds will be used to buy more filters for schools and health centers in the communities.
By handing out these filters, Banasa contributes to both the family health and economy of the communities as gastrointestinal diseases are prevented and the families save what they used to spend purchasing drinking water and / or firewood to boil water.
We’re very grateful with Banasa, because of their generous support. With this donation we will spend less and also eliminate parasites, bacteria and gastrointestinal diseases because we will no longer drink contaminated water, said Darcila Ramírez from community Salinas I, La Blanca, San Marcos.
BANASA as farming enterprise, features to prevent pollution and improve environmental performance, and promotes the welfare and improvement of living conditions for the associated personnel and their families.
Forty two women from 4 rural communities in La Blanca, San Marcos, received courses on baking, crafts, embroidery and cooking in order to obtain new knowledge to start small businesses in their communities and contribute to the family economy.
The training lasted three months and was conducted through a partnership with the Institute for Home Education Teachers.
Dina Barrios, wife of an Agroamérica employee said: I want to thank Agroamérica for bringing this project to our community because ever since Agroamérica came to the area, there is a source of employment for our husbands, children and grandchildren.
The communities benefitted were Colonia Diaz, Carrizales, Colonia Barillas and Las Morenas, all from the municipality of La Blanca, San Marcos.
In the closing ceremony, Agroamérica’s General Manager said: The important thing about this course is the knowledge received, which also makes them want to keep growing, learning and teaching their children. Agroamérica promotes comprehensive community growth and this is accomplished through work and learning.
Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu, March 14, 2014. BANASA today opened a medical clinic with modern facilities and a team of 13 professionals to assist company employees and their families.
This clinic is part of the overall vision that the company has taken to improve the quality of life and development of their employees and families, and will be part of the Center for Human Development BANASA being built on the southwest border triangle of Guatemala. This project began with the Happy Families program from 2008, which has served more
Retalhuleu, Guatemala, March 2014. Doctors from the University of Colorado trained the technical staff of Banasa’s program “”Familias Felices”” and midwives from the area, on prevention of maternal and infant mortality, to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.
Banasa’s technical team will replicate the training with mothers participating in the program “”Happy Families”” and conduct home visits for monitoring, control and registration of pregnant women, evaluation of care and weight and height control of children. These visits also seek to guide and advise mothers about danger signs and ensure proper implementation of the topics learned in the program, where one of the modules is focused on pre and post-natal care, early stimulation and child care.
Some of the topics taught to the mothers in the training were: danger signs in newborns and pregnant women, importance of breastfeeding and early stimulation. Midwives were trained on hemorrhages, complications during childbirth and neonatal breathing.
The methodology which consisted of meetings with technical staff, field visits, drills, practices and activities, plus the tools and implementation program were all provided by the University of Colorado.
Marina Alonso, Happy Families monitoring mother and midwife, says: “We thank Banasa for the training they have given us because we learned many new things when we help deliver a baby. We appreciate this effort to bring the doctors from Colorado because we have no opportunity for high-level training to improve our work with the women we care for. The Familias Felices program has helped us learn about health issues, hygiene, and values that we practice with our children, ourselves and our homes.”
The program of food and nutrition security, Happy Families, has been taught for several years, mainly to workers and the spouses of company employees.
Guatemala, December 2013. “To continue with the legacy left by the founder of the company that of bringing happiness to children from nearby communities, the company carried on the tradition of distributing toys to boys and girls of 12 communities in Escuintla, Retalhuleu, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango”, stated Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director.
Employees’ children from Banasa and children from nearby communities received 2,200 presents. Among the communities benefited were: Chiquirines, Los Encuentros, El Pomal, El Troje, Las Morenas, Barillas, Carrizales and Colonia Díaz.
Through the year these communities are supported by the company’s Social Responsibility Program contributing towards their development.
The Social Responsibility Coordinator addressed some words to mothers that came to pick up the gifts: “As in previous years, Banasa, worries that employees’ children receive a gift on behalf of the Company and today we deliver these presents, wishing all a Merry Christmas and many blessings for 2014”.
A Banasa?s employee remembers that one time, when the company was going through difficult times, the founder did not give presents to his children instead he gave presents to his employees’ children.
Mothers expressed their thanks and happiness to Banasa for the gifts received and also for the care of the communities.
San Marcos, Guatemala November, 2013. Five months ago, Banasa in alliance with local stakeholders, arranged the establishment of a new preschool and primary school in the municipality of Ocos, San Marcos, which became a reality last week.
Among the achievements reached by Banasa are: The Land Fund (Fondo de Tierras) will award 2.75 hectares of land for the construction of the school; Ocos major made the commitment to repair part of a home to be used for temporary classrooms; her son offered to pay one year’s salary for an additional teacher.
The Director of Education of the department of San Marcos thanked Banasa for supporting education in the south west, especially the schools in Ocos. He indicated that he will visit the temporary installations to ensure minimum requirements are met for the 2014 school year and will appoint a teacher before the beginning of classes.
“We are happy in Banasa with this achievement, because for the company is very important to contribute towards education in nearby communities where our employees live” stated Humberto Orozco, Community Relations Coordinator for the company.
Guatemala, October 2013. Banasa, aware of the importance of the family in the development of communities, implemented the program “HAPPY FAMILIES”, for mothers and children under the age of 5 aiming to empower families in issues among others of: food security, nutrition, community based organization and self – sustaining activities to improve their lives.
The program “”Happy Families”” was launched by Banasa, implemented for a period of 39 months in alliance with: Sesan, The Red Cross, volunteer firemen, Ocos municipality, Catholic and Evagelical Churches, Community Councils for Development of the villages of Pomal, Los Encuentros, Carrizal, Barillas and Chiquirines. This program seeked promoting nutrition and improving the health and living conditions of families belonging to communities in the Southwest of Guatemala (Retalhuleu, Quetzaltenango, and San Marcos).
“Happy Families”” was an innovative program whose main objetive was to reduce malnutrition, lower infant’s mortality rate, improve school performance of children, increase productivity and contribute towards the development of the community. As a result, malnutrition rate was reduced by 22%.
The program was launched in May 2009, since then, 390 women and 447 children under the age of 5 were enrolled. Upon completion of the program 343 women were trained and graduated in nutrition, hygine, food preparation, reproductive health, first aid and self-esteem among other topics of interest. Thanks to the alliance with USAID, families from this program received water filters and wood conserving stoves.
At the graduation ceremony, Hilda Alvarado, the coordinator of the program stated: “”it all began with height and weight measurements of children 0 to 5 years of age, finding out that 50% of them presented signs of chronic and acute malnutrition. Upon completion of the program the assesment of 477 children revealed that 78% of them were above the normal curve.”
Emilio Maldonado, major of Coatepeque, thanked Banasa for their effort and investment in activities carried out in the areas of health, education and disaster mitigation. “The resources that public institutions have always been limited to cover the needs of the population, therefore all the help that the Private Sector can provide to mitigate this issues wil always be welcomed and thanked.”
Bernardo Roehrs, Banasa’s Coorporate Director, commented that the corporation will continue to support this program through an alliance with the University of Colorado: “Our intention is to keep contributing towards improving health and living condition of the population in the region.”
Among the main achievements of the program are:
“Guatemala, September 2012. For the second consecutive year, the XNOX/BAM art auction to benefit the Endowment Fund for Agricultural Development in Guatemala of the school El Zamorano, which grants scholarships for young people from the rural areas, will take place. Currently there are four Guatemalan scholarship holders: Yuri Tecún, José Buezo, Pedro Carrillo and Manuel de Jesús García Chaclán.
Banasa provides $25,000 to the Fund to support students with limited resources, for five years. Among the scholarships holders financed by the company, is Yuri Tecún, a student from San Marcos who shares how she has excelled herself.
“My name is Yuri Tecún, I currently live in the municipality of Mixco, Guatemala, but my family comes from El Tumbador, San Marcos. I come from a low income family; my mother is a fighter who has raised my brothers and me. She does odd jobs in order to give us everything necessary and has always given us support to study. Ever since I was a child, I dreamt I had a university career so that I could help my family. Thank God, I had the opportunity to study in institutions of academic excellence. I studied at the National Central School of Agriculture (public) thanks to a full scholarship, that?s where I got interested in agriculture and enrolled in El Zamorano in 2008, the first year was funded by USAID and the last three years by the Endowment Fund for Agricultural Development in Guatemala.”
For more stories, visit: www.bamxnox.com/zamorano/testimonios-becarios-universidad-zamorano.
The auction, sponsored by Banasa, will have 7 works by Antonia Matos. Besides, 80 lots of internationally and nationally recognized artists will be auctioned. The auction will take place at Torres Pradera, Guatemala on September 20, at 7 p.m.
Guatemala, September 2013. BANASA, in support to the Zero Hunger Plan donates 3000 bananas every week to students from Cerritos School in Ocos department of San Marcos.
The Project “”Healthy School Snacks”” has been implemented with the goal of promoting food security and contributing in the reduction of malnutrition in 360 students from the Cerritos school. Bananas contain carbohydrates, fiber and micronutrients such as potassium, magnesium and folic acid._x000D_
This Project is a joint private-public effort that counts with the support of parents and teachers of the school.
BANASA’s donation is accompanied by a training provided by SESAN, addressed to parents whose children are benefited with the snacks, on subjects such as nutrition, health and hygiene.
After the implementation of this Project in the above mentioned school, junk food is no longer sold on premises and this shows the commitment parents and teachers have in improving diet and nutrition habits of its students. In turn they thank BANASA for donating bananas allowing children to have a healthy diet.
Guatemala, August 2013. Banasa, in alliance with the Municipality of Coatepeque, began a project to introduce potable water in the village of los Encuentros, in Coatepeque, Department of Quetzaltengo benefiting 160 families that lack this basic service.
In addition, Banasa will contribute to improve the health of the inhabitants of this community and work towards enhancing environmental, social and health conditions in the area.
Banasa’s production manager commented: “”This project supports Banasa’s philosophy of promoting the development of the communities where it operates. We are very pleased to contribute to the improvement of the living conditions of the community of los Encuentros.”
This collaboration is made possible through a tripartite agreement among Banasa, The Municipality of Coatepeque and the community who supports with their labor in trenching and completing the job.
Construction work includes 29,056 lineal feet of pipes and fittings for home distribution network. The project currently shows an overall advance of 50%.
Coatepeque’s Major, Emilio Maldonado, stated: “”I would like to take this opportunity to thank Banasa for the support they always give to the communities in the South Western region, especially in this occasion, the village of Los Encuentros. Additionally for always being proactive with Social Responsibility projects which benefit people. On behalf of the Municipality of Coatepeque, we thank Banasa for supporting this project that will improve living conditions for 160 families from this village.”
Saturnino Alonso, president of the Community Council for Development (COCODES), added: “This aid will benefit greatly families that have no access to potable water. Additionally it will promote health at home. We thank Banasa for helping communities from the Los Encuentros Village.”
Guatemala, July 2013. For Banasa, dialogue is the base for social cohesion, for that reason participated in the 7th National Forum on Social Responsibility 2013: “Sustainable Dialogue, the path towards development”, organized by The Corporate Social Responsibility Center in Guatemala -CentraRSE-.
In addition Banasa invited 11 community leaders from the South West meeting point (bordering Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos), close to its area of operation, who had the opportunity to participate in the forum and receive a training about Dialogue.
Felino Sandoval, president of the South West Region Association stated: “We are very happy that Banasa is helping us to be organized and provide us with tools to conduct dialogues among our communities.”
Bernardo Roehrs, president of the Forum and Banasa?s director gave the closing remarks: “We believe that dialogue is the key to build a country with no barriers, based on trust and compassion, we have participated in this forum and we are sure it will guide the country to participate towards seeking a common wellbeing of all the participants.”
The main objective of this year’s event was to encourage a mechanism for multiple sectors dialogue as a tool to promote processes that will lead to construct relations, strengthening alliances and strategic associations that will help to reduce conflicts.
The proposal to initiate a Sustainable Dialogue began with the signature of the guidelines by the president of Guatemala, Mr. Otto Perez Molina and CentraRSE’s president, Mr. Alvaro Zepeda.
The principles guiding the dialogue are:
1. Built relations based on trust to ensure the common good.
2. All persons are worthy and deserve respect.
3. The virtue of humility is the base to listen and to understand other’s opinions with empathy.
4. Tolerance to accept different opinions and humility to acknowledge that there is no absolute truth.
5. Free, voluntary and constant participation.
6. Listen carefully and patiently.
7. Transparency in communicating ideas.
8. Be brief, precise and clear.
9. Open to change and to the possibility of being wrong.
10. Confidentiality and discretion in the use of others opinions.
The event was attended by 630 persons, among them: government officials, ambassadors, international organizations representatives, business people, community leaders and civil society members.
Guatemala, July 2013. The joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS UNAIDS awarded The Association of Independent Banana producers and its 19 affiliated companies for working towards prevention and care of HIV in the workplace in addition to become a role model for other business sectors in Guatemala.
On belhalf of Banasa 10 employees responsible for the implementation of the HIV program received the award. Bernardo Roehrs, Coorporate Director expressed satisfaction for the work done and the for the future plans to be implemented: “”We have trained over 4,000 employees and community leaders in HIV/AIDS prevention, focused on values and the responsible use of their sexuality, emphasizing on Fidelity and Abstinence. This year we plan to expand the program to new groups of workers from the farms.”
Labor policies on HIV, focus on guaranteeing rights of HIV infected personnel and for providing a work environment free of prejudices, stigma and discrimination. Prevention is promoted among all employees and health care for all is provided. HIV test are provided and the confidentiality of the results is guarantee.
Jose Enrique Zelaya UNAIDS coordinator for Guatemala and Mexico, thanked banana producers for their support and commitment in the implementation of Labor Policies on HIV/AIDS stating: “It is necessary that the business sector of Guatemala takes an active role because neither the government nor the international cooperation has the necessary resources for HIV prevention, care and treatment.”
Guatemala, July 2013. BANASA and AGROACEITE received a request from the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources -MARN- (Guatemalan government entity, leading in environmental issues and natural resources) to train environmental consultants who are part of the Unit of Environmental Quality from the Head Office of Environmental Management and Natural Resources -DIGARN- on mitigation of agrochemicals, waste management, based on the experience developed by BANASA and AGROACEITE.
Both companies carried the training in order to build capacities for personnel of that Government Institution and unify criteria on issues that should be taken into account to develop an efficient environmental management for agricultural companies.
Raúl Barrillas, BANASA’s Production Manager, expressed: “We are very happy to share experiences with the governing body in Guatemala on environmental issues.”
The workshop was attended by architects, engineers, farmers, and biologists that are part of the Environmental Quality Unit from DIGARN. Participants took a keen interest in learning good practices implemented in the banana and palms companies. They were very pleased with the shared expertise.
Luis Carlos RodrÃguez, MARN Consultant, said: “”the training was quite comprehensive, we are very pleased with the knolewdge acquired and congratulate BANASA and AGROACEITE engineers.”
As part of the workshop, practice drills were carried out to demonstrate the appropriate use of protection equipment for personnel who work with agrochemicals and were trained on adequate usage of ABC extinguishers. A fire drill was conducted and real extinguishers were used.
Andrea Paiz, BANASA’s Environmental Inspector, commented: “It is a good opportunity for BANASA and AGROACEITE to interact with environmental consultants from the MARN and make public that in Guatemala there are companies that have a system of environmental management based on international certifications”.
Roxandra Hornquist, coordinator of DIGARN, mentioned: “On behalf of the Unit of Environmental Quality and Natural Resources, we want to thank BANASA and AGROACEITE for the knowledge shared. Our environmental assessors have been strengthened in the new subjects.”
Guatemala, July 2013. Banasa concerned with the environment and floods that have afflicted year after year communities in the South West region of Guatemala, decided to implement a Reforestation project in the area along with the Ministry of Social Development.
The objective of the Project is to reforest micro basins of rivers Ocosito, Naranjo, and Zanjon Pacaya. Furthermore involves communities, government institutions, NGO and private sector.
It is estimated to plant 120 thousand trees in eleven months, in nurseries established in 21 communities in the meeting point among the departments of Retalhuleu, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
Seeds have been harvested by the Ministry of Social Development; plastic bags have been donated by Banasa. Communities will be responsible for filling the bags, irrigation and maintenance of nurseries. In addition, FONADES will provide technical assistance during the life time of the project.
Bernardo Roehrs, Banasa’s Corporate Director stated: “Reforestation brings great benefits: protects against erosion, prevents decrease of soil fertility and sedimentation of water ways, prevents flooding and improves air quality.”
Banasa, with the implementation of this Project, once again demonstrates its Social Responsibility contributing towards the improvement of the environment and the development of the communities where it operates.
Guatemala, July 2013. In the wake of a threat posed by a possible outbreak of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, Banasa along with the Ministry of Health carried out a study that found out mosquitos that causes this disease in two communities of Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu.
To stop the outbreak, Banasa fumigated 170 homes in the communities of El Rodeo and La Jocotada.
Abigail Marroquín, President of the Council of Rural Development -COCODE-, stated: “We are very thankful to Banasa for the support they have given us in fumigating our homes, preventing the outbreak of the disease in our communities”.
Hemorrhagic Dengue is an infectious tropical disease that occurs usually when a person is bitten by a mosquito that is infected with the virus. Symptoms include fever, headache, muscle and joint pains and a skin rash that is similar to measles. As the disease develops it leads to bleeding, low level of blood platelets, or into dengue shock syndrome becoming a life threatening disease.
As follows some preventive measures to eliminate and mitigate the spread of mosquitos that causes dengue:
Guatemala, June 2013. The Ministry of Agriculture, Cattle and Food -MAGA- carried out an audit to award health licenses for adequate management of food of plant origin for exporting and Importing. BANASA was certified as the corporation with best practices in food management and safety in Guatemala.
The Ministry of Agriculture -MAGA-, inspecting engineer Hector SolÃ³rzano, stated: “BANASA is the Banana Corporation that has obtained the highest score in the audit process carried out.”
During the inspection of BANASA’s farms, it was noted that the company implements good practices in fresh fruit handling ahead of other banana producers in the country. Upon completion of audit, Mr. SolÃ³rzano congratulated BANASA?S team for this important achievement.
The company’s Production Manager indicated: “We are very pleased to know that BANASA obtained the highest score in the audit of best practices in food management and safety in the production of bananas. This obliges us to continue working hard towards continuously raise our standards and become more efficient every day.”
After a number of inspections, the audit process was completed approving BANASA’S operation for another year.
Guatemala, May 2013. For the fourth year, Banasa recognizes its employees outstanding work with the “Productivity Award 2013”. 270 employees of Banasa farms were recognized for contributing towards the growth of the company and for having improved the economical, personal and professional situation of its employees and were given a cash award. This is a yearly event in memory of the founder of the company.
The purpose of this award is to thank employees for their dedication, job excellence and to encourage them to continue doing a good job as well as reminding them to always apply in their daily life the values and teachings established by Banasas’ Founder.
The criteria to select the winners are: job excellence, no disciplinary actions, zero work place absenteeism, outstanding performance and at least one year of seniority.
Felix Mateo, manager of the winner packing plant in the south west stated: “We are very happy to win the Productivity Award. I am very thankful to the team for a well done job and encourage all to continue working with excellence in order to win next year”.
In addition, an award is given to the packing plant with the highest production in a year and keeping the standards of quality and Social Responsibility. As production increases employees earn more.
Guatemala, february 2013. In order to understand the social and cultural context of the region in the communities near Banasa, eleven anthropology students from the University of Colorado conducted a study on health care. It is known that diseases, have social and cultural causes in addition to biological ones.
By means of this study, they expect to discover the types of diseases the population is at risk of contracting, their causes, the medical care available and appropiate treatment.
Another aspect that could be identified as a result of this study, is how communities day to day manage to live without receiving support from the government in basic services such as health care, water access and food.
John Brett, Anthropologist from the Univesiity of Colorado, commented, that the experience with the communities and the results achieved will be very benefitial for the Center for Human Development (CHD), that Banasa is designing.
“We were very well received by the people, all inhabitants would like to see inmprovements in their communities, therefore they are willing to participate. A wide range of persons were interviewed: community leaders, government officials, religious leaders and radical groups,” stated Brett.
Great advancements were achieved with this visit, important information was found out regarding the priorities of the local communities in terms of development, the organization of the clinic and planning of other related health programs such as water sanitation, nutritional educational programs and access to medical care.
Guatemala, December 2012. Banasa has begun the process of creating a Human Development Center-CDH- (for its initials in Spanish) in the southwestern part of Guatemala, region where a high number of the companies’ workers live. Through health and education centers this center will contribute to improve the standard of living of the inhabitants of the communities located in the trifinio (point where three territorial divisions converge) of Retalhuleu, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango, specially for the workers of Banasa and their families.
The project comes to life due to the food security program- Familias Felices- that has been implemented during the last four years in five communities, giving benefits to more than 400 participating mothers and their families and more than 500 children.
In order to improve the program and have a greater impact, Banasa made a partnership with the hospital of the University of Colorado-Colorado Children’s Hospital-, with whom they signed a Memorandum of Understanding to make the best of their experience on the public health topic and in programs for mothers in the rural areas, such as the program Colorado Bright Beginnings.
The mission of the CDH will be to grant opportunities for the integral development of low-income people, families and communities located in the southwestern trifinio of the country, to achieve their wellbeing, improve their standard of living and contribute to eradicate poverty in the area.
Banasa seeks to teach and implement self-management models for integrated rural development generating wealth and competitive development, through human and technical education and comprehensive health services, among the families of the trifinio.
The CDH will offer basic health and education services to more than 25 communities located in the southwestern trifinio, where more than 6,000 families live. This translates in benefits to more than 30 thousand people.
In the area of education, Escuela Fernando BolaÃ±os, was founded 2 years ago with pre-elementary and elementary school. In the health area, a group of doctors of the University of Colorado visited the communities, made a diagnosis of the situation and a baseline study. In the area of infrastructure, students of architecture of the same university visited the zone, designed a health center, a research and training center, and proposed to build a housing development with local alternative materials and a community construction company.
At this time, a team from the University of Colorado is training the staff of Mejores Familias in a registry system; plans are being made for the medical clinics and the hostels for the doctors and a second phase for Escuela Fernando Bolaños is being built.
Guatemala, November 2012. On November 7, a 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck Guatemala, killing 52 people, 40 in the department of San Marcos and 11 in the department of Quetzaltenango, region where a large part of the operations of Banasa are located and a large number of its employees live. Also one million and a half people were affected, more than 12,000 houses damaged, schools and buildings destroyed and more than eight thousand people are in shelters.
Banasa donated 20,000 blocks to help rebuilt the Institute of Commercial Science in San Pedro Sacatepéquez and Central de Párvulos School in San Marcos. Banasa also donated bananas for the people in the shelters in several municipalities of San Marcos.
Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of Banasa, stated: “We regret this tragedy that has affected our country and the families of our employees. We sympathize with the victims, mainly with the inhabitants of San Marcos and Quetzaltenango and hope that with our grain of sand we can alleviate some of the pain of thousands of Guatemalans”.
Guatemala, September 2012. Banasa in partnership with FundaciÃ³n Santa Teresa de Ãvila y Rene and the health centers of the villages, last week conducted two medical consult days in village La Blanquita of the department of Retalhuleu and in Los Limones, department of San Marcos. The activity benefited more than 500 people in rural areas, most of them farm workers and their families.
On both days medical assistance and tests were provided and medication was given at no cost for the beneficiaries. Free transportation was also given to all attendees and travelling expenses for the doctors and nurses. The total cost of the activity was Q46,000.
“For Banasa the preventive health of their employees and their families is very important”, commented Humberto Orozco, Community Relations Manager in Banasa. “That is why we coordinate with Fundación Santa Teresa de Avila y Rene to benefit the population of the rural area, bringing medicine and tests that are not available to them, either because of the distance or due to their price”, added Orozco.
Advantage of the activity was taken to raise awareness among young people about the drug problems. Orozco gave a conference for 150 middle school students of the Instituto por Cooperativa of community La Blanca, about drug addiction.
Guatemala, September 2012. Banasa, in partnership with the Nutritional Food Security Secretariat- SESAN [for its initials in Spanish], is carrying out the “Nutritional Reinforcement with Bananas” Project to prevent acute malnutrition in the municipalities of San Pablo and Sibinal of the department of San Marcos, which have been given priority by the government because of its high rates of malnutrition.
For three months, Banasa will donate 650,000 bananas to 109 families with cases of acute malnutrition and the School Boards of 220 public schools for the food snack program. With this project, 150 schools and 2,500 families will benefit weekly for a 14 week period.
SESAN will train the beneficiaries on the different forms for preparing and consuming the banana and its nutritional properties.
Luis Enrique Monterroso, secretary of SESAN; Luis Rivera, departmental governor of San Marcos; Bernardo Roehrs, corporative director of Banasa, and municipal and communal authorities participated in the inauguration of the project, held in Sibinal.
“We have already made three deliveries in Sibinal. Fifty thousand bananas weekly were distributed in 77 schools of this municipality”, stated Luis Enrique Monterroso from SESAN
“The productive sector has always wanted to promote initiatives such as these. One of the pillars, in Banasa, is empowerment and community development, and with this project focused on reducing malnutrition, we can help the community overcome it. A malnourished population cannot make it”, commented Bernardo Roehrs, from Banasa.
Yanira Fuentes del Valle, housewife of Sibinal, stated: “This is a good project because the banana is a very nutritious fruit. The trainings will help us learn make different recipes with the bananas”.
Guatemala, August 2012. The Guatemalan Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food, Efrain Medina, along with the director of the Independent Banana Producers Association -APIB-(for its initials in Spanish), recently visited Banasa’s facilities, in the southwest of the country, in order to strengthen ties between the government and the country’s agricultural sector.
“The visit was carried out to facilitate a space for dialog with government authorities, to reiterate our commitment as a competitive, innovative and socially responsible agribusiness in farming, labor, environmental and commercial practices”, commented Ana Clarisa Villacorta, director of APIB.
Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of Banasa, said: “It is important for companies like Banasa, to consolidate the perception of the agribusiness as a major player in the areas of influence, making this type of activities and bringing about partnerships that will lead to the development of the communities”.
The visit consisted of a tour of the field and the packing plant to get acquainted with the process of the banana crop. The community of Chiquirines, in the municipality of Ocos, San Marcos, was also visited to see the social responsibility projects that the company is carrying out. There was a meeting with the leaders of the AsociaciÃ³n del Trifinio Suroccidente, who proposed to the Minister, the need to promote agriculture development projects and strengthen those in existence.
More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69156006@N05/_x000D_
Guatemala, August 2012. Banasa gave support to the Municipal Firefighters of La Blanca, Ocos, San Marcos, with prizes for a raffle. The proceeds will be used for the maintenance of station No. 70, so that they can provide efficient services to the community, where part of Banasa´s workers live.
The activity took place with the cooperation of neighbors and municipal firefighters. Alfonso Calmo Pérez, commander of the station, commented that the activity was carried out to provide the station with first aid tools and improve the units to keep them in good conditions and be able to respond to emergencies.
Calmo added: “Thanks to Banasa for their contribution that allowed us to carry out the activity, it was very important for us and our station. My colleagues and I are very grateful”.
Banasa urges local governments to give more support to health services in this area, because many institutions like the firefighters or health centers go to socially responsible companies such as Banasa, to ask for their support because there is none from the government.
Guatemala, July 2012. Last week, BANASA taught a first aid course to its farm personnel as a part of an overall human resources training program. This course was given by the local, municipal firemen from the area of La Blanca, in Ocós, San Marcos. The course was tailored to address the specific needs of banana farm workers.
The training lasted approximately five hours and was focused on the prevention of and attention to the most common accidents which occur on the farms and processing plants, such as: wounds, pulled ligaments, twisted ankles, hemorrhages, techniques to immobilize bone fractures, and workplace risk assessment, among others.
Both farm personnel and administrative personnel took part in the training course whose objective was to teach a group of employees to be able to actively support the doctors and nurses on staff at the farms in case of any medical emergency or accident.
“We promote these types of training courses because we care about the well-being and security of our employees”, said Bernardo Roehrs, director of Corporate Affairs.
Guatemala, June 2012. 270 Banasa workers were awarded the Fernando BolaÃ±os Productivity Prize. Winners met certain criteria which contributed to their personal, economic and professional growth, as well as the companys performance. The prize included a cash award, a certificate, a T-shirt and a cap. This yearly event was named after Banasa’s founder, Fernando Bolaños.
Upon receiving the prize, Amparo Cifuentes, who weighs fruit, said: “I have never before been rewarded for anything. I am touched and very proud because we are now champions. Now with this money I can pay some debts”.
The objective of the award is to recognize good performance among workers and to motivate them to continue to strive for excellence. It rewards the best employees of each of the packing plants according to the following criteria: no sanctions, minimal absence from work, exemplary performance and more than six months of employment at Banasa. Prize winners received a T-shirt, a cap and a framed certificate signed by the company’s top officials.
Additionally, the prize recognizes the collective effort of the packing plant with the largest increase in production during the year. Banasa rewards its workers with a cash bonus. The more they produce, the more they earn throughout the year.
Ocós, San Marcos, Guatemala, June 2012. The most recent health survey of the “trifinio” area of southwestern Guatemala conducted by the University of Colorado, Health Needs and Human Development in Guatemala’s Southwestern “trifinio” (Berman and Asturias, September 2011) revealed that mothers are suffering from food insecurity, which is manifested in their children’s health.
Last week directors from the United Nations System in Guatemala visited the company’s operations to observe first-hand the programs that Banasa is implementing to combat this problem, and to join forces to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals, especially to reduce infant mortality and improve maternal health in the area.
“This is a first step in this alliance between the private sector and the United Nations, which we believe has ample potential for growth,” said Ernesto Sinápoli, Representative of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) in Guatemala. “The effort and interest of the private sector to reduce the high malnutrition rates in the poorest communities is important,” said Héctor Morales, Communications Analyst at the UN Office of the Resident Coordinator.
“We are convinced that our commitment goes beyond what international conventions dictate, stated Bernardo Roehrs, Banasa’s Corporate Director. “We believe our alliance with the United Nations system, with good public policies, can change for the better the situation of families in the region,”
During the visit the group participated in a training session of Banasa’s Happy Families program which targets mothers, as well as in a meeting with ASODITSO, an organization which represents 15 communities living in the area, where not only were the area’s main needs discussed, but also several corporate social responsibility programs that Banasa has launched to support local communities, in the areas of health, education and disaster preparedness.
“I am very thankful with Banasa because they brought development to the community,” said Magaly Fuentes, a community leader, participant of the Happy Families program.
The point where the three southwestern provinces of San Marcos, Retalhuleu and Quetzaltenango converge (the “”trifinio””) is an area which somehow has been neglected by government authorities, lacking in basic services including education. Thus the population living in the area has been greatly affected by malnutrition, where there is 42% prevalence of diarrhea and 58% of children suffer from respiratory diseases.
Banasa employs more than 3,500 direct employees and more than 10,000 indirect ones, through more than 100 suppliers of their value-chain production, offering year-round employment to small and medium suppliers._x000D_
The Happy Families program, with 4,000 direct beneficiaries, is only one of the initiatives we have throughout our areas of operation which contribute to the reduction of malnutrition, poverty and lack of education. The program has more than 400 mothers more than 500 participating children in the beneficiary communities.
Banasa has become the first company nationwide to pay the -vital minimum wage- (living wage), thus improving the welfare of their employees and families. They also boast a private school where the children of their employees receive a quality education, giving them the opportunity to work with the company later on.
“We have good environmental practices, with international standards throughout the supply chain. All of our banana farms are certified by Global Gap and the Rainforest Alliance. We have the first banana plant in the region to be certified with the Business Alliance for Secure Commerce”, said Roehrs during the visit to the plantations.
We are building a Human Development Center which soon will offer holistic development opportunities to needy individuals, families and communities living in the -trifino- area, with health, education and recreation services offered to the entire -trifinio- region inhabitants. The -trifino- region needs the attention of government authorities so that the more than 23,000 people living in more than 20 communities in the area can benefit from development projects. The region has an illiteracy rate of 26%, only 27% of the people living there have ready access to drinking water, and only 1% have adequate drainage, concluded Roehrs.
As a result of this visit, community leaders of Ocó’s, San Marcos, will meet in July with the FAO Representative in Guatemala to discuss possible development projects in the area, to be presented to local government to improve the region’s Human Development Index.
More photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/69156006@N05/
Guatemala, May, 2012. Banasa carried out a day of free vaccines against Infuenza for 200 banana farm workers. The activity was organized by the Human Resources Department and the Health Center Caballo Blanco.
The beneficiaries of this campaign were the nurses at the Health Center and local clinics, managers, administrators, block chiefs, foremen, administrative and field staff.
Christian Sandoval, comptroller of the company, said: “The activity was very positive, as it would help counter diseases that are occur in the rainy season. These campaigns are an added benefit for our employees”.
Doctors recommend that one should be vaccinated once a year to be protected from 90 percent of the viruses that circulate during flu season.
Guatemala, April 2012. The Kroger supermarket chain, one of the largest chains in the United States, has recognized Banasa with the award, “Corporate Brand Supplier of the Year 2012” for their exceptional contribution to the company’s corporate brand program.
Banasa was chosen from among thousands of vendors worldwide to receive this award. According to the criteria set forth by Kroger, Banasa is a business that has upheld the highest standards of customer service by providing Kroger with a wide variety of high quality products at competitive prices.
During the awards ceremony, the Kroger’s team, showed their appreciation to the winning enterprises for embracing the company’s spirit and supporting them in their efforts to help steer it in a direction of innovation and excellence. “Banasa is a key supplier for us. Not only are they the leading supplier of our own brand of bananas under the brand name, Fresh Selections, but they have also collaborated with our team to become pioneers in the direct importation of bananas to developed countries”, said Lorena Rull, Kroger’s corporate brands manager. She added that Banasa is a very valuable partner that shares Kroger’s fundamental value of Customer First.
Fernando Bolaños, CEO of Banasa, said that it was a great honor to have received this award, “This is a stimulus to our company to continue striving to do better every day.” Bolaños congratulated its entire team, especially the field staff, for their efforts and dedication which led to this award.
Guatemala, April 2012. Banasa, together with the Independent Anti-AIDS Committee, delivered 30 AIDS prevention workshops with a focus on family values. 3,000 employees from the banana farms and community leaders from the departments of Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Quetzaltenango benefitted from this training.
Over the course of two weeks, two doctors from the Anti-AIDS Committee conducted the workshops at the plantations and packing plants. The doctors emphasized that the best ways to prevent the spread of the HIV/AIDS virus are abstinence and/or marital fidelity. Using a condom is a method of last resort because it is not 100% reliable and does not prevent other diseases.
“The purpose of these workshops is to create a change in the behavior, attitudes and beliefs of our employees by instilling them with the positive values which this company embraces—the final result being an improvement in their quality of life”, said Bernardo Roehrs, corporate director of the company. “As well, we want to help Guatemala meet the Millenium Development Goals; one of them is to combat HIV/AIDS”, stressed the director.
The vast majority of the company’s employees had never before heard of the AIDS virus. Others learned new information. Rebecca Arling Gramajo, Nurse from Banasa’s farm stated, “”It was very well explained. I did not know that the virus could pass through the condom. With these activities we can always save lives. It is important these kind of workshops so that people are well informed.”
Guatemala, January 2012. Banasa contracted the civic organization GuateAmala to impart the workshop “Dialogue in Action: A Window to See Guatemala” targeting 28 community leaders from the southwestern region of Guatemala neighboring Banasa. The purpose of the training was to instill in participants the desire to get involved in the development challenges of their communities, and to formulate community projects that would contribute to Guatemala’s development.
Participants in the workshop included Banasa staff, mayors, farmers, teachers and members of local community development councils (COCODES). The methodology used centered around dialogue, and among the topics covered were citizen rights and obligations.
During the two-day workshop participants had the opportunity to express freely their opinion about the reality they live. Among the needs identified were the low quality of education, teachers’ strikes, corruption of authorities, the general lack of values and loss of identity among youth. When asked about the kind of Guatemala they wanted to have, the response included a Guatemala with education and roads, prosperous, organized, and with skilled workers. Participants also got feedback from the group on community projects currently underway, and projects they wanted to see developed.
Workshop participant and Asociación del Trfinio Suroeste President Felino Sandoval opined that the event was very productive. “I learned a lot. We had lots of ideas about projects to start. As a result of the workshop we are planning to renovate the water pipe in my community of Valle Lirio”, he said.
GuateAmala trainer Juan Francisco Valencia said one of the objectives of the workshop was networking, to motivate more Guatemalans to get involved in the country’s development. “The opportunities for action that are presented to us are the key to meeting the challenges we have before us”, he said.
Guatemala, February 2012. Banasa is supporting the Ministry of Education with the delivery of mathematics, communications, and language arts textbooks to first, second and third grade students in public schools in the Department of San Marcos.
Rodrigo Perera, president of Banasa Transportation Unit said it is important for the company to support education in the country: “Delivering the books as quickly as possible is critical for the beginning of the school year. We’re happy to be able to help schools in San Marcos get their books on time”.
Tere Ligorrá, director of USAID|Alianzas, said that one objective of her institution is to involve private firms in social development, and she thanked Banasa for its collaboration. “The firms that helped out with book distribution are showing a real spirit of collaboration towards meeting our country’s goals by delivering quality educational inputs to students throughout the country”.
President Otto Pérez Molina stated that any sacrifice made in the name of education is an effort that will be recognized by all Guatemalans, especially children. “I thank companies for supporting education in Guatemala: the books being distributed will benefit thousands of children. This effort is possible thanks to the teamwork of a Group made up of 79 sectors including business peoples, foundations, non-governmental organizations and individuals”.
Guatemala, January 2012. Throughout 2011 Banasa collected used ink cartridges from all its farms and administrative offices, and donated them to the “Hasta el último cartucho”” (Until the last cartridge) project of the Sergio Paiz Andrade Foundation (FUNSEPA), to be recycled and sold to raise funds to buy equipment for public schools.
With this initiative Banasa is contributing to the conservation of the environment -by recycling the cartridges- and supporting the country’s education at the same time.
Nancy Beza, FUNSEPA’s Marketing and Fund Raising Coordinator said that with the money raised from selling the cartridges several public elementary schools were fitted with computers. “We have helped more than 300,000 children in 769 schools in several regions of Guatemala. We know that technology is the bridge to progress, and thanks to companies such as Banasa, which donated these cartridges, we are reaching more kids”, commented Beza.
Conscious of the importance of recycling and helping education as well, all Banasa employees contributed to this initiative by donating their used ink cartridges. With this assistance Banasa demonstrates it is a socially responsible company which contributes to Guatemala’s social and economic development, using technology as a tool to further education.
Through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Banasa contributes to improving the food and nutritional security of the population in southwestern Guatemala, and the achievement of the country’s Millennium Development Goals.
Guatemala, January 2012. For the past two years Banasa has been implementing the Better Families program in 6 rural communities across the country. A self-help program, Better Families focuses on improving the health conditions, nutrition and social behavior among beneficiary families. Among its goals are to reduce malnutrition and infant mortality rates, improve school performance among boys and girls, as well as to improve productivity and community development. To date 4,000 people have benefited from this program, including 400 mothers and 500 children.
Better Families targets women directly, who after training become relays of important information within their families and their communities. They learn about self esteem, health, hygiene, nutrition, care for the environment and child growth, among other topics. To verify knowledge competence program technical staff make periodic home visits, where they also conduct weight and height measurements of children under five years of age, and learned practices are reinforced with activities such as medical and gynecological fairs involving the whole community.
Walter Tello, program coordinator in the South Coast, noted that he has observed significant changes in the communities where Better Families is implemented. Beneficiary families have shown to have improved health habits, including the increased use of safe water for consumption. Also, the program has improved the capacity of participating mothers to make better decisions regarding their family’s health, which has resulted in fewer cases of diarrheal diseases and lower maternal and infant mortality rates. With improved self-esteem, women are better able to identify early the symptoms of breast and cervical cancer, as well as to improve the nutritional intake of their children’s diet.
Participating woman Odilia Guzmán Soto from the village of Chiquirines expresses her satisfaction with the program: “I feel very happy because I have learned how to take better care of my children, to improve the health habits around my home, and to better value and appreciate myself as a woman and as a person. Also Banasa has given us stoves and filters to cook food and purify water.”
Banasa also provides assistance to special cases of child malnutrition, offering medical help, food and care during their convalescence. The company is part of the Provincial Food and Nutritional Security Commission (CODESAN), which along with government entities and other NGOs is in the process of designing a Food and Nutritional Strategic Plan to address the problem of malnutrition in the coastal region.
The first class of kinder garden students graduates from the Fernando Bolaños private school
Guatemala, November 2011. Banasa celebrated the graduation of 19 kinder garden students from the Fernando BolaÃ±os private rural school in the municipality of Caballo Blanco, Retalhuleu department.
The school was built earlier this year for the children of Banasa workers, and its innovative methodology has made it a model for rural schools. Teachers enthusiastically organized the graduation in which children wore gowns to receive their diplomas, as proud parents took pictures and local authorities watched. At the ceremony parents thanked Banasa for offering their children the opportunity to get a high-quality education.
District education supervisor Elda Orozco mentioned afterwards that this event will motivate parents to continue sending their children to school, so that in they graduate from elementary school in the near future.
Banasa President thanked teachers and parents for dedicating the event to Fernando Bolaños (RIP), the founder of Banasa who played a key role making the school a reality. “We wish academic excellence for these children, so they graduate from elementary school and then from secondary, and later continue on to university or vocational training”, added the president.
Guatemala, November 2011. Bananera Nacional, S.A. -Banasa- organized the visit of 12 doctors from United States to conduct a study about the health, education and lifestyle situation of the communities bordering the southwestern departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos.
The objective of this study is to have a better understanding about the lifestyle of the people in these communities and their basic needs, so that Banasa can better contribute to their development.
These doctors, together with Banasa personnel, conducted focus groups with community leaders and surveyed more than 300 mothers from eight communities: Los Encuentros, Chiquirines, El Pomal, Carrizales, Colonia Barillas, El Palmar II, Santa Fe and Valle Lirio, where most of Banasa´s workers live.
At the end of the week-long activity, a free medical fair was held dedicated to the children of four communities. Noelia HernÃ¡ndez, nurse of the Health Center of Chiquirines, said: “I believe it was really good to be able to take care of 400 children.”
Guatemala, October 2011. Banasa donated food to 800 families affected by the rains which recently struck Guatemala’s southwestern region. The company delivered food items including flour, beans, sugar, oil, salt and bananas, focusing on the poorest families cut off from main roads and unable to replenish their food supply.
Banasa employees, beneficiary women of corporate social responsibility programs and community leaders participated in delivering the donation. Magaly Cifuentes, a mother who received assistance in the Chiquirines village, declared: “This help that Banasa is giving us is excellent because we did not expect it and we are in great need. The bad weather continues and people are suffering a lot. There is no more corn to harvest, and because of the floods we cannot go shopping. Even with water up to our knees we come out and receive this assistance.”
Dina Barrios Díaz, president of the village of Ocosito COCODE (local Community Development Council), said: “People are very grateful because of the food delivered. You are the first to come and help us, and the food assistance went to the neediest people. I am very grateful with the company because they remembered our people who are in great need.”
As wells are contaminated due to the floods, Banasa, together with Municipal Firemen, also delivered drinking water to prevent diseases.
Since the beginning of the rains in the southwestern area where the provinces of Quetzaltenango, San Marcos and Retalhuleu meet, Banasa has been monitoring the water level of rivers, has remained attentive to meet the needs of local inhabitants, and has maintained communication with its employees via mobile telephone text messages, sending safety tips and official information, as well as other activities the company has undertaken to assist them during the continued heavy rainfall.
Guatemala, September 2011. In order to foster a positive attitude and encourage a sense of civic duty in its employees to vote responsibly and conscientiously, Banasa together with the civic association, Guatemala, conducted a workshop whose theme was “Building a Culture of Citizenship”.
More than 1,300 employees from the farms and administrative offices participated in the workshop which initially trained the first group of participants who were then responsible for passing on their training to the next group and so on. The methodology utilized in the workshop included a series of reflections and dialogues about citizenship and community development designed to awaken the desire to become a part of the change needed in Guatemala.
The first part of the workshop focused on describing to the participants the Guatemala that we want to build. The second part was to teach them that, together, we form a part of the democratic government and are stewards of it. In the third part, the participants were encouraged to learn the responsibilities of each public office represented in the general elections and evaluate each candidate’s political platform in order to be able to vote intelligently. At the end of the workshop, the participants made a promise to pass this important knowledge on to the people within their spheres of influence.
Several of the participants of this workshop expressed that they now feel better informed and motivated to go and vote:
“The dynamics of the workshop changed our understanding of how to vote in the upcoming elections.”
“We women now feel very enthusiastic about voting; for some of us, it will be our first time. This workshop has motivated us to vote more conscientiously.”
“Many of us were not aware that during the voting process we would be given five different colored ballots. Now we clearly understand how to vote.”
Guatemala, September 2011. Banasa, through its Corporate Social Responsibility Program, Better Families, offered a free medical clinic day in two villages of Coatepeque, Quetzaltenango, Los Encuentros and Las Ventanas.
The doctors and nurses who came from XelajÃº, attended more than 200 people (adults and children), mostly relatives of Banasa workers. Medical staff treated respiratory diseases, diarrhea and skin infections and provided the medicine.
Banasa undertook the activity together with Oficina de la Mujer, the wife of the Mayor of Coatepeque and the Episcopal Diocese of San Marcos.
Guatemala, August 2011. The private, co-educational Fernando Bolaños School was visited by 54 directors, teachers, and students from other rural schools located in the municipalities of La Reforma and El Quetzal in San Marcos, and Colomba in Quetzaltenango. The purpose of this visit was to observe the innovative teaching methodologies used in the Fernando Bolaños School, a model school in the rural community.
The Active Rural School Program of the organization, FUNCAFÉ, is in charge of the teaching methodologies used by the Fernando Bolaños School because they are recognized experts in the field of rural schools in Guatemala. The technical coordinator of the program, Jorge Ochoa, explained that the objective of this activity was to present the innovative teaching methodologies used by the teachers, measure the success of these methodologies in the classroom, and motivate the students by allowing them to share their newly acquired knowledge. The participants thanked Banasa for providing the facilities, transportation, and food for this conference.
The company was also recognized for its social and educational work conducted through their corporate social responsibility programs and their dedication to the development of the children of their employees.
Rigoberto Tercero, the director of the “Carmen Amalia Farm School” in Colomba, Quetzaltenango said, “We were pleasantly surprised by the school”. I found it very interesting that the surrounding natural resources are utilized to teach the students. I was impressed by the academic progress made by this school and its programs. Our school has not yet reached a level of success equal to that achieved by the Fernando Bolaños School in the four years we have been operating.
Guatemala, August 2011. Banasa, concerned with the nutritional status and well-being of its employees, their families, and the residents of the communities surrounding their farm operations, have taken on the responsibility of helping the children suffering from malnutrition. The most recent case Banasa took charge of wa
“Guatemala, July 2011. Alejandro Maldonado, the Executive Secretary of CONRED met in Chiquirines, Ocós, San Marcos with leaders from sixteen communities from Retahuleu, Quetzaltenango and San Marcos, together with representatives from BANASA. The purpose of the meeting was to express the needs of these communities to CONRED?s Executive Secretary.
BANASA has always been concerned with the well-being of the people who live in the vicinity of its operations and for this reason, they organized the meeting between the community leaders and this important governmental organization to negogiate the help the residents need to prepare for the rainy season.
BANASA has become the principal source of aid for twenty-one tripoint communities. They have helped the residents organize a local branch of CONRED to coordinate the relief efforts during disaster situations. They have also financed and organized training workshops with CONRED to teach community leaders how to react in emergency situations. BANASA invested $47,500.00 to reconstruct the banks of the Ocosito river to prevent flooding, helped community leaders secure governmental loans to dredge the PacayÃ¡ river, and helped obtain emergency relief equipment to prepare for this year’s rainy season which has already begun.
Some of the needs expressed by community leaders include the dredging of the Ocosito, PacayÃ¡, and Naranjo rivers. These rivers overflow their banks every rainy season, flooding the local crops and communities. Other needs include first aid kits, flashlights, and portable and stationary battery-powered radios to be able to communicate when the power goes out.
Santos Díaz, a leader from Valle Lirio, requested that their petitions be recognized and processed. “We have been abandoned by the Government; BANASA has become our only source of help”. ” Nancy Reyes, president of COCODE and deputy mayor of El Pomal commented”, “We want to be heard and we want help to find a solution to the problem of the Ocosito riverbanks. BANASA has already helped us with the repairs, but we still need help to continue to maintain the integrity of the riverbanks”.
Nota en Prensa Libre: www.prensalibre.com/departamental/Lideres-sociales-solici…
Guatemala, June 2011. Each year, BANASA awards farms and workers that achieve higher productivity yields. To do that, it evaluates the fulfillment of production targets, technical and environmental standards, disciplinary rules and adherence to the values of the company, among others. This year, one farm and 200 workers were creditors of the prize which is named by the founder of the corporation, consisting of cash and prizes in kind.
With this recognition, the company encourages employees to constantly seek excellence and meet the company’s values which are: perseverance, hard work, team work, responsibility, honesty and generosity. For BANASA it is a commitment providing quality products with social responsibility.
At the award ceremony, the Manager of Human Resources, said: “The Fernando Bolaños Productivity Award has been a great motivational complement to our staff because it shows that the company recognizes the efficiency, performance, quality and team work”.
Hernán Alejandro Cal, Fruit Receiver and award-winning employee said: “I am happy to have won the award for productivity. We thank God and the company because they value our work and effort. I am grateful to colleagues because we all worked our hardest to win. This motivates me to keep doing things better”
“Guatemala, June, 2011. Last month, machinery and workers were sent to begin dredging the mouth of the Pacaya¡ River, located in San Rafael Pacaya¡, Quetzaltenango. The purpose of this project is to avoid the flooding that occurs in the area during Guatemala?s rainy season from May to November. Banasa collaborated with the Southwest Tripoint Association to petition the government for help with this recurring problem.
In 2010, more than 300 community leaders from the departments of Retalhuleu, San Marcos, and Quetzaltenango, all located within the Southwestern Tripoint, together with Banasa, met with the president’s Secretary for Special Projects to discuss the need to dredge the barrier beaches at the mouths of the Pacaya, El Naranjo, and Ocosito Rivers. This dredging will alleviate the local flooding by improving the flow of these rivers toward the Pacific Ocean.
The communities located in the municipalities of Ocós, Coatepeque, y Retalhuleu (La Blanca, Pueblo Nuevo, Río Bravo, Cerritos, Salinas I, Salinas II, Las Morenas, Chiquirines, Barillas, Palmar I, Palmar II, Madronales, Los Encuentros, Santa Fe, Valle Lirio, La Blanquita, El Reparo, El Troje, Caballo Blanco) will all benefit greatly from this project.
Banasa continues to support the local authorities with the project aimed at rebuilding the banks of the Ocosito River to avoid the destruction caused when the river overflows during the rainy season.
Marleny Vásquez, a resident of one of the local communities, demonstrated her appreciation to Banasa and the Southwest Tripoint Association: “May God bless you because this project is a miracle. We have suffered greatly from the flooding every year. An additional benefit of this project will be the ability to use the sand that is removed through the dredging process to fill the land where I want to build my house.”
Felino Sandoval, President of the Southwest Tripoint Association, communicated his satisfaction with the project and thanked the governmental authorities, the local communities, and Banasa for their support.
Guatemala, May 2011. BANASA inaugurated its latest school, The Fernando BolaÃ±os Coeducational Private Rural School in the village of Chiquirines, Caballo Blanco, in the Department of Retahuleu, Guatemala. This school was built especially for the children of BANASA’s employees that live near the farm. It accommodates the youngest of children in its preschool and continues through the primary grades.
To bring this project to fruition, BANASA signed an agreement with the Coffee Agriculture Foundation for Rural Development (FUNCAFE) to administer the day to day activities of the school and fulfill the requirements of the Ministry of Education for the next three years.
We aim to give the children a first class education so they may exploit their own talents and, in turn, contribute to the development of their community. We believe that a good education is essential to a community’s development, stated Gustavo Bolaños, President of Agro Plantations of BANASA.
Rudy Vasquez Oxlaj, the Secretary and Chairman of the Rural Community Council of Chiquirines (COCODE) said, I believe this is a very good project because the children will receive classes that tailored to their needs and the teachers will receive continuing education courses to keep up with the latest trends in education.
Guatemala, September 2010. On September 7, National Banana, SA invited a group of 25 community leaders from various communities Trifinio southwest of Guatemala (Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos) National Forum 2010 organized by Focus called? Business, Responsibility and Development ?. CentraRSE (The Action Center for Corporate Social Responsibility in Guatemala), founded in 2003, is an organization with over 100 member companies that belong to more than 20 sectors and sub-sectors production in the country, representing about 30% of Guatemala’s GDP and employ 150,000 families. This movement promotes good practice of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in business.
Each year, Focus organized a National Forum, where companies, civil society organizations, government representatives and international organizations to propose, learn and share about CSR issues national meet. The theme of this year’s forum focused on the role of business in society, emphasizing the positive impact they have on economic growth in their communities and the environment.
Community leaders invited by Banasa came from communities Chiquirines, White, The Pomal, Palmar II, Cerritos, Pueblo Nuevo, Salinas II, Lily Valley, Los Encuentros, Salinas I, Colony Barillas and Rio Bravo. All took advantage of lectures and activities of the forum, made contacts and thought that was a very rewarding and positive experience for them because they were informed of the projects that companies do and learned that between them and businesses can work together to achieve development, with a win-win.
Fernando Bolaños, President of Banasa says that companies implementing CSR positively impact their environment and generate wealth, stability and welfare of its employees, families and communities. Our operations are within the country and we need to build close and productive relationships with neighboring communities. The training these leaders met at the Forum is the benefit for them and for us adds.
Banasa was characterized by assuming a CSR business strategy and this has led her to be more successful, build trust and have a good reputation. With CSR programs carried out in the communities around its operations, the company has brought together a number of (economic, ethical, social) values that make it more profitable and sustainable.
The purpose of the invitation to this event was closer to community leaders, meet and make ourselves known as a company, inform them of what we are doing in the communities and train them in CSR issues through the forum.
In addition to the Forum, Gustavo Bolaños, CEO of Banasa, Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director, Gerardo Asturias, Administrative Manager, met with leaders later to talk about the origin and history of the company, the process of banana and projects CSR holding the banana, in order to be able to talk with the leaders and hear their views. All final comments were very positive. Some of them are:
Miltón Rene Bonilla, representative of the Board of the irrigation unit, Parcelamiento La Blanca: I thank the company. the opportunity they give us. These are conversations that we shared very useful. My 43 years I did not know what the management of the company, what was the vision nor far they could go as a company in our communities, only that they employed, but many do not know is on them a lot for us, for poor people .
Amalia Rodriguez, member COLRED, Salinas II: I wanted to thank you for giving us the opportunity to come here, God bless them and give them much more strength to help the poorest.
Israel Rivera, a member of COLRED, La Blanca: How I wish that all businessmen were just like you, because I see that there are people who discriminate the most simple, but I see that you are otherwise. I wish to go forward to using you more jobs for our partners, our children and our children’s children ?.
Councilman Julián Díaz, President of COCODE, El Pomal: No other company has taken us into account and Banasa. May God continue to keep them their heart as Don Fernando RIP (Company founder). I remember much because he was a person who devoted himself to appreciate the poorest communities, working with them and seeing how he could help .
Henry Samuel Marroquin, Director of School, Los Encuentros: I am very grateful to the company for caring about education, invest in education, which usually does little businessman. We also thank him for creating jobs. I have 15 years of teaching and when we started in these communities was much poverty, only maize and sesame crop was expected, and now you have the privilege of fortnightly payments in communities there .
Guatemalan April 14, Thirteen companies received certification of Business Alliance for Secure Commerce? BASC ?, where were recognized by the authorities in Guatemala World BASC and BASC. One of them was National Banana Inc.
The event was attended by customers and providers participating companies, international and national authorities BASC, among others, who shared information about this certification and the benefits that each company has to obtain it.
BASC is voluntary and promotes and supports the strengthening of security and safety standards in international trade. It aims to promote within their partners, development and implementation of preventive actions to prevent their products or services in international trade are used as a means for transferring terrorism, narcotics, precursor chemicals, and other crimes.
According to Juan Ricardo Castillo, Executive Director of BASC Chapter Guatemala, one of its major benefits is to efficiently prevent customs fraud, smuggling, terrorism, illicit drug trafficking and the diversion of precursor chemicals for drugs, to facilitate trade between nations in a quick and safe manner.
The centerpiece of the event was the presentation of certificates of each of the recognized accrediting them as a member of BASC chapter Guatemala, Alejandro Uribe, General Manager of World BASC Organization Fermin Cuza, International President of World BASC Organization and Carlos Ochoa, Program Manager for Latin America C-TPAT (C-TPAT is a joint initiative between the American government and the private sector which aims to build cooperative relationships that strengthen the security of the entire supply chain and border security ).
Fermin Cuza, President of the World BASC Organization (WBO), said the BASC program was the first program of security supply chain established by the customs agency of the United States in 1997 and named some benefits that this certification gives companies follow their standards: the most important benefit is the peace of mind in knowing that your premises, products and people are better protected;? and that internal procedures and physical controls of the company meet standards equivalent to those that recognize international customs bodies.
With this certification, in addition to other certifications of the company, manages Banasa our products and services made in Guatemala are performed in a safe process throughout the supply chain.
Guatemala is going through moments of violence and insecurity and trust is difficult to obtain. This is why companies aware of this have worked and endeavored to give that security to its customers and provide the safest and most reliable product on the market, free of any act of terrorism, narcotics and other illegal acts.
See photos attached.
Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director of National Banana, receive recognition and BASC certification authorities. ) see article published in a national newspaper Siglo XXI)
Guatemala, February 2010. The week of 23 to 27 November, the company organized a visit from Frank Alonso Prado, from Costa Rica, a specialist in human person and labor relations, in order to train personnel of the company in similar behavior and treatment of employees within the company, to create a culture of solidarity in the workplace issues.
Frank Alonso Prado has been dedicated to providing counseling in the workplace and has participated as a facilitator in the process of labor negotiations.
He imparted intensive Banasa personnel, both administrative staff and operational training: from members of senior management, managers, administrators of estates and members of the Board of Directors of the Solidarity Association until harvest foremen, security personnel, staff in charge of quality control, stevedores, sorting, packing, department personnel environment, Better Families Program, among others.
During the training, participants were able to identify good practices for a pleasant working environment and thus get the idea that they can participate and benefit within the company.
The content of the training in general was about the human person and its coexistence with others, what is the Solidarity Solidarity how they live, what aspects can be improved within the company and how we can help to achieve this.
These training achieved the goal of spreading the values of the company with each of the given contents and activities. In addition, several dynamics during trainings were conducted for all participants to enjoy and make the most of.
Gustavo Bolaños, Chief Executive Officer, said a few words at the end of training in topics Solidarismo: “Often we do not realize the efforts of generations to create wealth At least in our case, my father started in the negative, he was orphaned. at age 13 and at that age began to work, train, first capital for his family, his brothers. and then at age 29, began to form capital for his second family that we are his children. We are here all together to see how we can make this company grow, with the sole responsibility of generating wealth for Guatemala, Costa Ricas, to Panama in the places where we are. ”
The final comments after the staff received training were very positive. Some of them were:
Arnoldo Lemus Arriaza, fieldworker:
“I already had some knowledge of what the Solidarismo, but I learned that we must work together and neither one is less than another.”
Ariel Celada, docker:
“We learned to share, to help the friend, to understand that we can grow as individuals and the welfare of our families too.”
Alvizurez Joseph, Comptroller of inventories:
“This training was a reminder that feedback is good to give a hand to those who need help. Support your neighbor so that together we achieve the goals, teamwork across the enterprise.”
Aldea Los Encuentros. A total of nine midwives Agroamérica neighboring communities were trained by physicians Anschutz Medical Campus, University of Colorado, USA. Six of them are already certified by the Ministry of Health, while the remaining three are in the certification process.
According to Hilda Alvarado, a social worker of the Center for Human Development Agroamérica, midwives “were trained in the process of attending a birth, address the possible existence of dystrophy shoulders and techniques to detect if the baby is in a breech position.”
The training included learning techniques to manage normal deliveries and what to do in case of bleeding.
To Ernestina Vasquez, 62, who has 30 years of practice as a midwife, this training is important because it provides techniques to ensure the welfare of the women who give birth and babies communities. “God willing we will keep getting lessons from doctors, because the knowledge we acquire is of great benefit to the people,” he said proudly Dona Ernestina.
“What I like about learning to be a midwife is to help people, because some people do not have the benefit of being able to attend the hospital or can not afford, or are single mothers. So I decided to become a midwife, “said Karina Vasquez, 17, who aspires to become certified comadorna.
These trainings are part of the commitment to the Human Development Center has taken pear Agroamérica contribute to improving the living conditions of the people living in the communities around the banana company.
Guatemala, November 2009. On Sunday October 18 was held the “Race sugar”, where the National Banana company supported the delivery of all bananas to supply all the runners who participated in the activity.
This is the second year we work with this race, donating bananas are so good food for those who play sports and have a healthy life. The banana has several benefits and some of these we can mention are: it is a natural remedy for depression and improves mood, prevents insomnia, is a source of quick energy needed in the diet of children and athletes, balances body fluids to regulate blood pressure, prevent strokes, arthritis and metabolic diseases, improves hair and helps prevent falling, stimulates the production of hemoglobin and prevents anemia, reduces cholesterol levels because it contains pectin relieves premenstrual, calm pain and prevents cramps due to its high potassium content, among others.
The company supports such events in order to promote sport in Guatemala and also to support activities that take place in locations where we have banana plants because they are our partners who live there and can enjoy all its family of these.
This race is organized by ATAGUA (Association of Sugar Technologists Guatemala), which is a non-profit independent association formed to represent and promote the integration and development of the sugar technicians through the dissemination and technical exchange, scientific social and national and international level, thus contributing to the productivity of the sugar industry in Guatemala.
It is one of the biggest races nationwide. It is known as? The sweetest race of the year ?. Over the years that has been done has had the participation of about 800 thousand runners; its route is 10.5 miles.
The National Banana (BANASA) help by donating fuel for 12 months, municipal firefighters Coatepeque
Guatemala, November 2009. The banana company signed a letter of understanding the present year with the Fire Department Coatepeque, to formalize the partnership that has been developed together with them and will be done during the coming months.
Raul Barillas, Manager of farm output, Emilio Carranza Rhodes, president of the fire department, signed this document where what help will be clear over what period of time, to ensure compliance with the company seeks with this type of aid: collaborate for services using our employees and their families are getting better. And, so that both the company and the fire department, we comply with the responsibilities we have with the community.
The contents of the letter says it will deliver fuel to the fire of Coatepeque, in order to serve those living in communities in the area, who largely are partners BANASA farms. Fuel delivery will be for a year, the first week of each month and will end the first week of October 2010.
The objective of this assistance is that the families of our employees who live in communities near farms BANASA, can access emergency services firefighters whenever they need it.
Guatemala, November 2009. The October 30, 16 members of the Association of Independent Banana Producers -APIB- were invited by National Banana, SA, on a tour of the communities around the farms of the company, in order to show projects CSR -RSE- carried out in the areas west of Guatemala Trifinio in the departments of Quetzaltenango, Retalhuleu and San Marcos, and thus encourage them to join this effort.
The APIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is organized to promote, exercise and protect the union, social and economic interests of producers of bananas, which aims for the promotion, research, advocacy and development of the agricultural market and trade associations . That is why we invite you to its members, as we know that we can achieve a significant change in the communities near our farm, if we all unite.
The activity was attended by owners of several banana groups in the country, among them were: Group of Entre Rios, Francisco Salazar and Edgar Warssen; Molina Group, Gerardo Lemus; Gomez Group, Javier Gómez: Bruderer Group, Christian Bruderer and Alan; Arriaza Group, Wilhelm Lopez; Rosmar-Banasur Group, Mario Alberto Garcia-Salas and Juan Miguel García Salas; Berger Group, Alain Berger; Ayala Group, Andrea Coutinho, Ivan Marroquin and Luis Antonio Ayala; and Eber García, Technical Program Manager-Best Families, Business Council, Foundations and Institutes -CEFI- Guatemala.
Gustavo Bolaños, CEO of the company, led the group of banana during the tour and answered questions about the programs the company develops, while encouraged them to carry out all these activities within the banana plantations of the guild.
The objective of this activity was that the entire banana industry is one in CSR projects that can benefit the development of communities and that we, companies with them, a win-win.
For the banana sector is important that all members participate in activities of this kind, and BANASA as a pioneer of several of these programs, feel responsible to convey this desire to contribute to the development of the country, working with the communities where they live their colaborares and conducting related to health, education and values, projects which are the basis for achieving a comprehensive improvement.
The tour started with a visit to the School of the village of Los Encuentros, where teachers are taught the Diploma in Family Guidance Association by LINK. This program seeks to promote people who are shapers of change in society, improving their own behavior and experience of family values, so that radiate in their environment. It caters to social leaders, in this case mostly teachers, to incorporate values into their daily work. In school, teachers and the Principal, they told their experience receiving the Diploma.
The next stop on the tour was at the Department of Nutritional Surveillance village of Los Encuentros, where the group was able to observe how the banana came a group of mothers and even carve their children under 5 years, while Hilda Alvarado General Best Families program coordinator, explained to them what procedures are followed in the monitoring unit.
Then he visited the home of Mrs. Erica Vicente, who is in the program since 2007 and has a son with Down Syndrome 3 years. She told the audience that the program has learned to take proper care Pablito and now practicing hygiene habits and food that has been taught.
The tour also included a visit to the Nutritional Surveillance Unit Parcelamiento Chiquirines where, on its outskirts, several mothers received training Best Families program, provided by the Technical field, which was attended by entrepreneurs.
The final comments were very positive, and everyone was grateful to the company and look forward to working together to bring CSR programs running.
Guatemala, September 2009.
Beginning September 23 and the following for six weeks, the banana producer and exporter, Bananera Nacional S.A. (BANASA) will present a weekly banana truck to the Food Bank of Guatemala (BAG), with the aim of supporting the communities affected by the food crisis in the country.
In Guatemala, the drought has affected crops of maize and beans, but in the ?dry corridor? of the country, comprising the departments of El Progreso, Zacapa, Chiquimula, Jalapa and Jutiapa, were detected communities with chronic malnutrition._x000D_
BANASA, commitment to the welfare of their employees and the community, was in charge of the donation and expenses of the truck where the fruit was transferred to the wineries of BAG, and where bananas were distributed to the areas affected by famine.
Thanks to the joint efforts of BANASA and BAG, more than 2,400 families benefited in THE areas of Villa Nueva and San Miguel Petapa.
“Guatemala, August 2009. From August 9 to the 14, was held the first training workshop for field technicians and general coordination of the Best Family- CEFI program, sponsored by Bananera Nacional S.A. (BANASA), at the Hotel Siboney, Retalhuleu._x000D_
Best Families-CEFI is an innovative self-management program, addressed to mothers, which promotes the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS), which promotes sustainable human development processes, aiming to have an impact on improving the health, nutrition and standards of conduct in families, emphasizing the mother-child care and community organizations to ensure local development.
Some of the objectives of this program are to develop good habits in women for the proper selection, preparation and consumption of food; educate mothers on preventive health, sustainable actions to improve the condition of mother and child, family and community; strengthening the community organization to ensure the sustainability and self-management processes, reduce malnutrition, reducing child mortality, increasing the productivity of women and promote their participation within the community as a central player.
During the sessions, training was provided to participants involved in program development so that they could competently perform the initial phase and the implementation of training workshops with women in the communities.
Some of the discussed topics during the induction were the pillars of food and nutrition security, food nutritional insecurity tree, Best Families program and its objectives, lines of action, strategy, levels, phases of the program cycle, will or desire, satisfaction or effect, outline of training and structure plans, goals, the desired impact at the end of the process and desired outcomes.
The facilitators of the workshop, Eber Garcia, technical director, and Brenda Roxana Letona, coordinator of assessment and training for the Best Family- CEFI program, evaluated the group learning, noting that there is ability, disposition and positive attitude on the part of technicians for program implementation. Additionally, they said it was clear the political and technical support to program development by BANASA officials who attended the workshop. They also said that knowledge of the program model and nutritional food security and by the General Coordinator of itself is a strength that will help achieve better program results.
The results from the workshop were:
It was an enjoyable workshop, where participants had the opportunity to undertake several activities to see their level of knowledge and how to link the concepts of food and nutrition security, and if they could identify and respect the model of the Best Families in their program along its progress, through the development of educational activities.
During the week, the activity counted with the presence of Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate director of BANASA, Byron Santizo, general coordinator of Solidarity Program, Gustavo Aqueche and Walter Tello, human resources managers of the farms, Hilda Alvarado, general coordinator of Best Families Program, and ground technicians Luis Alfredo Taracena, Allan Rodas, VerÃ³nica Maldonado and Vivian Barrios._x000D_
About Best Families-CEFI
Best Families-CEFI is aimed at mothers aged 14 to 49, with children under 5, who are or have relatives working at BANASA plantations. The program takes place in communities near the plantations where the majority of employees live.
Within the communities, there are 24 monitoring mothers who guide the group. So far, about 384 mothers and their families have benefited from the program. The communities are: Parcelamiento El Jabalí (77 employees) San José Mogollón village (65 employees), San Francisco Madre Vieja village (82 employees), and Huitzizil village (92 employees), all located in the department of Escuintla.
Guatemala, august 2009. On August 21, with support from Bananera Nacional S.A. (BANASA), the Local Project Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (COLRED) opened in the area of Southwest Trifinio Guatemala, an area highly affected by flooding in surrounding communities.
The project consists on training staff from the farm administration areas and community leaders from villages surrounding to BANASA’ss plantations, about natural disaster reduction. The idea is to educate the participants with the proper procedures to follow during the occurrence of a natural disaster in the area, and at the same time they act as leaders in their communities replicating this knowledge.
During the event, the Executive Secretariat of the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED), BANASA and communities in the Southwest Trifinio Guatemala, signed a letter of understanding for the creation of 18 new local coordinators for Disaster Reduction (COLRED) in the diverse communities of the departments of Retalhuleu, San Marcos and Quetzaltenango.
According to the agreement, the logistics of training and all teaching materials to be used will be provided by BANASA, the training will be taught by CONRED, which will follow up on projects undertaken in the communities regarding the prevention and reduction of disaster, and the group of Trifinio, COCODES, will be responsible for the integration of groups in the villages and the selection of each leader.
The guests were area community leaders, including members of the COCODES, mothers, COLRED coordinators, mayors, councilors and BANASA collaborators who participate in the training to be taught the last week of September.
The inauguration took place in the communal lounge of parcelamiento Chiquirin, Some of the attendees were Fernando Muniz, Director of Coordination of CONRED, Carolina Calderon, Legal Advisor to the Deputy Executive Secretary of CONRED, and Felino Sandoval, president of Southwest Trifinio. On behalf of BANASA attended Gustavo Bolaños, General Manager, Raul Barillas, Production Manager and Bernardo Roehrs, Corporate Director.
Guatemala (July 2009) – As part of its ongoing commitment and responsibility to develop good practices, banana plantations from Bananera Nacional, S.A. (BANASA), received the international GLOBALGAP certification.
GLOBALGAP is a private sector body that sets voluntary standards for the certification of agricultural products around the globe. GLOBALGAP is awarded to companies that demonstrate high standards of good agricultural practices that contribute to improve product quality, minimize negative environmental impacts of farming operations, and ensure a responsible approach to the health and safety of employees.
The certified banana plantations were La Zarca and La Esperanza, both from Bananera Nacional, S.A.
BANASA’s banana plantations have always been characterized for its commitment to meet the requirements of its customers and reassuring consumers of how production processes are completed. As a result, the company received additional global certifications from organizations such as the Rainforest Alliance and ISO14001 from the International Organization for Standardization. BANASA will soon receive the BASC (Business Alliance for Secure Commerce) certification.
Guatemala, July 2009 – Banana plantations from Bananera Nacional S.A. (BANASA) joined together to sponsor a certification program in family guidance given by the organization ENLACE (En La Comunidad Encuentro – In the Community I Found) in order to achieve an integral development for their employees and families in communities where they operate.
The program developed in a period of four months (July to November), seeks to encourage participants, in this case teachers, principals, administrators of farms and community leaders, to improve their own behavior and experience of family values, to spread it in their environment and incorporate into their daily work, serving as example for the community.
Some of the topics to be discussed during the program are: individual and family values, education for freedom, character and personality, work, among others.
At the opening event attended by members of the Board of ENLACE, community leaders, farm staff, school principals, teachers and members of COCODES.
This and other projects are part of the company’s commitment to support the community through education and training to improve their living conditions and simultaneously encourage them to participate in developing their own community.
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