Waitrose working to encourage sustainable food production
At Savid, every single day is a pleasant adventure in life! Thanks to its strong belief in biodiversification, respect for the environment, combined with a strategic geographical location, Savid Organic Bananas are grown harmoniously with nature.
Savid Dominicana is a company dedicated to growing and exporting organic bananas. Its operations are located on the Caribbean island of Hispañiola, at the north-west region of the Dominican Republic, in the province of Monte Cristi – where joyful life, the sun and meringue reign!
“We initially started with small growers, and these farmers did not have a lot of experience, so we had to teach them how to grow organic bananas.
“Organic, to them, meant basically doing nothing, so we had to change that. After working hard for a few years, including technical help and financial help, we really felt the need to establish our farms. That’s why we came up with Pasa Robles, the farm where we are today, and Pasadena later on. These farms have been established for over 15 years now and we have proven that it really works to combine high technology with respect for nature, biodiversity, and social standards for our workers.”
Jetta Van Den Berg, Founder of Savid.
Savid was founded in 1994, being a pioneer of an organic certified operation. Presently, it has two model organic banana plantations: Hacienda Pasa Robles and Quinta Pasadena. Both are certified with organic standards for the European Union, BioSuisse, Global GAP, as well as Fair Trade, loyally complying with the implementation of all requirements by these certifications.
Each of these plantations dedicates 50% of their arable land as protected area. As can be seen, these areas serve as natural habitats for the extensive species of birds and other endemic species of wildlife within the area of the beautiful landscape – always demonstrating good agricultural practices. They also have a continuous training programme for all the personnel in different areas.
“The training programs that the Company provides to the workers, not only do they have to do with productivity, but also with the personal growth standards, which are very important. There is a training program that lasts 52 weeks a year. Every Saturday a special group of workers receives training. Why do we offer this training?This is done to help the worker excel in his area, but also with the objective that the final product meets all quality standards that the market demands.”
Helen Nicolas, Certification Unit
Education is for the betterment of the farms, as well as for personal intellectual development of each individual employee, helping them in the improvement of their living conditions and the communities where they reside.As bananas are harvested 52 weeks a year, and because of the organic standard of the crop, it requires hard work to control the seasons and insects.
“Year after year we have improved productivity and because of that we are more efficient in respect of agricultural practices in the field, maintaining an optimal population of plants per hectare, which guarantees a steady harvest throughout the year.”
Accordingly, Savid Dominicana prepares its own fertilisers following organic methods, using green waste such as leaves and banana stems, and combining them with the manure produced by its own organically raised cattle and other natural ingredients. It makes a fertiliser known as ‘potash’. This fertiliser is used to improve the fertility of the soil, crop health, and for biodiversification, guaranteeing a soil rich in organic matter and free of pesticides.
“We are proud to be a Waitrose supplier since 1997. Waitrose has been one of the most progressive supermarkets when it comes to organic, when it comes to respect for nature and social standards. We are very happy that they were involved from day 1, basically, with our farm. We are very happy that they selected us as a demonstration farm.”
Jetta Van Den Berg
With best management of the elements that Mother Nature provides us, we help in maintaining biodiversity and, as a result, we produce high quality products with a considerable positive environmental impact.