Long-term reforestation program
PARTNER ORGANIZATION :
ATPI (Alter Trade Philippines Inc.), formerly ATC, got founded in 1987 by a network of NGOs in the context of the massive crisis that hit the island of Negros (the main sugarcane growing area in the Philippines) in the 1980s, after the collapse of the world sugar prices. In 1988 ATPI started exporting Mascobado whole cane sugar to European Fair Trade organizations. The subsequent conversion to organic production in 1995 allowed to expand the distribution of sugar in Europe, Asia and the US.
Today ATPI is a marketing organization working with 380 sugar cane farmers, organized in 10 associations. Moreover, ATPI is selling fresh bananas to Japan and Korea, working with more than 2400 banana farmers. The processing of the sugar cane takes place on site in ATPI’s own facilities, where more than 200 people are employed.
The EFTA Climate Justice Fund will contribute to the prosecution of the ongoing long-term agroforestry and reforestation project that got started by ATPI in cooperation with PUR Projet in 2013, with the objective to support small scale banana and sugar cane farmers in their fight against extreme climatic events. The project operates in a hilly area which had been highly deforested, due to timber logging and the expansion of agricultural lands over forests.
Every year new tree seedlings are planted as windbreaks around the sugar fields or as shade trees in banana cultivation. Small forests are also planted to create a favorable micro-climate. The trees provide mulch material that improves soil fertility. The usage of fruit trees provides food and additional income opportunities for the farmers.
For this kind of projects it’s very important to be executed with a long-term commitment, to be able to carefully monitor the level of development of the new trees as well the achievement of the social and environmental goals.
At the end of the ninth year of the project more than 170.000 seedlings got planted (out of them, approx. 73.000 got funded by EFTA’s member organization GEPA) with a survival rate of 75%. Moreover, the average yield of the crops and the average sugar content in the sugarcane resulted consistently higher in the lands near the new trees plantations.