Alter Trade Foundation was created in 1987 in the Negros Island, Philippines, in which the sugar cane cultivation occupies 85% of the lands. More than 800 small sugar cane producers benefit from it; they received the lands thanks to an agrarian reform and cultivate them collectively. Alter Trade enables them to have a stable and decent income while they are in charge of transforming sugar thanks to their own mills and selling the product through direct exportation.
The foundation provides technical support to the members of Alter Trade on organic production methods for sugar canes and bananas, but also on the development of vegetable gardens, rice cultivation, raising of pigs, chickens, etc., in order to help small producers to diversify their income and secure their food sovereignty.
Alter trade has thus become, thanks to its team of 300 employees, and through the collective achievements of its 800 members, a model of integral development for small producers of the Philippines. This cooperative is an extraordinary example of empowerment of small producers that were living in slave-like conditions as field workers for large plantation landlords to this current situation where they have gathered and collectively manage their farming activities in autonomy.
Some tree plantation projects were initiated by the groups of villagers themselves. Their initiative contributes to the rehabilitation of the environment, especially the maintenance of soil and water in the soil, on this island where sugar cane supplanted all the forests that were formerly present. It will also eventually enable the villagers to run collective and sustainable exploitation of wood and to gain additional income out of it.
In 2010, Alter Trade Foundation wanted to join Pur Projet to develop more systematic and large scale community and sustainable forest utilization. Villagers will plant trees on shared lands and on their individual lands, following forestry models that are pure or combined with vegetable, banana or sugar cane cultivation, through the plantation of trees along the fields and in humid areas in order to protect the farm ecosystem they depend on.
The first 20,000 trees were planted within the Dama community, which is already experienced in reforestation activities, in order to serve as a model for the 15 other villagers organizations of Alter Trade.
The aim is eventually to plant with the 800 small producers member of Alter Trade on their individual and shared lands, a potential estimated at 400,000 trees within the next 5 years.
- Improve the agricultural practices in the cultures of sugar cane (very consumer of water)
- Supply a protection against the bad weather
- Diversify the income of the farmers by the production and the sale of fruits