WESTLAKE VILLAGE, California - APRIL 16, 2009
Dole Food Company, Inc. announces that Copdeban -Dole's entity in Peru- has launched a foundation in the country: the Dole Foundation of Sullana Valley. Newly inaugurated, it mainly aims at improving the health and educational conditions in the local communities and in empowering producer associations in the production and packing process.
The Dole Foundation of Sullana Valley already includes 11 Peruvian producer associations and represents more than 2,200 small farmers and agricultural workers.
The foundation focuses on five programs:
- Business Development - Providing associations with the funds, equipment and training needed to develop their banana production skills.
- Education - Providing rural schools with scholarships and infrastructure support.
- Health - Providing medical assistance to farmers, workers and their families, with a special attention paid to prevention.
- Environment - Making the community aware of practices that respect their environment.
- Community Development - Building and promoting public places and houses, and organizing family-focused events throughout the year to preserve the community life.
The foundation is financed through a one dollar contribution made for each banana box exported. The foundation's accounts will be audited on a regular basis by a third-party organization.
Dole has been operating in the Piura region in Northern Peru since 2001, where it helped develop the banana export industry by providing technical assistance to small farmers and encouraging local producers to grow organic produce. "This Foundation represents a new step forward in Copdeban's partnership with the producer organizations" said Frans Wielemaker, Director of the Dole Organic Program. "We are very proud of the program's early success. After only a few weeks, the foundation has already contributed $230,000 towards projects creating 550 new jobs and providing 40 scholarships."
The Dole Foundation of Sullana Valley in Peru is the third Dole Foundation in Latin America, joining FUNDEBAN in Colombia and DALE in Ecuador.
Dole Food Company, Inc., with 2008 revenues of $7.6 billion, is the world's largest producer and marketer of high-quality fresh fruit and fresh vegetables. Dole also markets a growing line of packaged and frozen foods, and is a produce industry leader in nutrition education and research. For more information on the company's CSR efforts, please visit www.dolecsr.com.