The reality of the impact of the global pineapple industry on the environment and local people was tackled at a three day symposium in Davao City in Mindanao, the Philippines. The event was hosted by Fairfood International through the campaign, The Land of Promise [http://www.fairfood.org/land-of-promise]. The organization, alongside various stakeholders in the pineapple industry, discussed emerging issues on sustainability for the industry, workers, and affected peoples alike. On Thursday, November 17, a follow up symposium was held in Amsterdam.
The Philippine island of Mindanao, also known as the Land of Promise, is home to an extraordinarily rich biodiversity. However, despite its rich biodiversity, the economy and the exports from Mindanao are mainly dominated by a crop that is not natural to the island: the pineapple. The production and trade of this prickly fruit is not always carried out with regard to the land and its people.
Participants at the conference prioritized the top 10 issues affecting the pineapple industry and brainstormed on additional research and new courses of actions. The speakers provided a background on some of the issues related to the environmental, social, and economic aspects of Fairfood International’s sustainability agenda [http://www.fairfood.org/research] to create a more informed context for the discussions. Freedom of association, pesticide use and land rights are some of the major concerns.
On November 17, Fairfood met with other NGOs in Amsterdam to discuss how they can strengthen and compliment each other’s advocacy efforts towards companies within the pineapple industry.
Fairfood International, with help from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, will encourage the pineapple industry towards becoming more sustainable, on Mindanao and in the rest of the world. One of the indigenous leaders at the conference said “This conference opened our eyes and minds to the windows and doors of hope. This also ensures the availability of effective mechanisms for the indigenous people to pursue an economic, social and environmentally sustainable program.” Fairfood International strives to do just that – enable Mindanao, the Land of Promise, to live up to its name for generations to come.