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"An intellectual is someone whose mind watches itself."

- Albert Camus, French philosopher

Pineapple shaped promises: restoring the balance between planet, people and profit

By Abigail Joffre - Fairfood International on 23 September 2012

The Land of Promise, otherwise known as the Philippine Island of Mindanao, is struggling to live up to its name. The island, which boasts an extraordinarily rich biodiversity, has become a centre of discord between people, planet and profit. And all in the name of a tasty, tangy, tropical fruit: the pineapple.

Although the pineapple is not a fruit native to the Philippines, the country is currently the third largest pineapple producer in the world. However, all is not well within the industry. The production chain is plagued by social and environmental issues that are unfortunately all too common in the food and beverage industry. Unsafe use of pesticides puts workers’ health at risk, whilst simultaneously contaminating water supplies and damaging the finely tuned ecosystems relied on by the inhabitants of the island of Mindanao. Poor labour practices, primarily the abuse of temporary employment contracts, results in workers receiving a poor wage, few work related benefits, and in many cases being deprived of the right to freedom of association, thus cementing the poor conditions surrounding their employment. The acquisition of land for large scale pineapple plantations also has a negative impact on the lives of many smallholders and communities whose customary land titles are overlooked in the race for greater profit margins.

With funding from the Dutch Postcode Lottery, Fairfood International’s Land of Promise campaign aims to challenge the pineapple industry of Mindanao to improve the sustainability of its production processes, and in doing so, restore the balance between planet, people and profit. We recognise that as one of the leading commercial fruit crops of the tropics, many of the problems of the pineapple industry are not limited to the island of Mindanao. However, at Fairfood International, we believe that change is possible; and change starts with a promise. By encouraging the major companies in the industry on Mindanao and persuading them to increase the sustainability of their production and supply, we hope to set an example that will encourage producers around the globe to make sustainable practice the norm within the global pineapple industry.

Fairfood International is also working to build relationships with local communities so that the voices of those involved in and affected by the Pineapple industry on Mindanao may be heard. These relationships will help inform the project, so that we may better achieve our objectives. They will also allow us to measure the improvements resulting from increased sustainability in the sector. By working in close harmony with all of our partners, the Land of Promise campaign aims to provide you with information to help you make the right choices regarding those tasty chunks of pineapple that end up on your plate! As responsible consumers, you can play a role in creating a sustainable future for Mindanao. With your support for the Land of Promise campaign, we can work together to ensure that your healthy choices contribute to a better, healthier, and more sustainable future for all; from those producing the food we eat to the planet itself.

If you support the mission of the Land of Promise campaign and are interested in getting involved, visit us online at www.landofpromise.fairfood.org and follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Land_ofPromise. To contribute to the future of projects like the Land of Promise and the work of Fairfood International, donate to Fairfood International today via our DiaCauses page.