Name Varcli Pinares S.A.
GGN 4052852511025
Country Costa Rica

Profile

The CEO of Varcli Pinares S. A. said once: “Know the potential of your product and you will always find opportunities to be better every day.” Vargas, (2009).
In the past 50 years, two values have driven banana producers and producer groups: cost efficiency and productivity. In the banana production industry, Varcli Pinares S. A. has come as a new way to produce bananas, following its vision: “To be recognized as pioneers in environmental sustainability processes of production, harvesting and packing of bananas”.
As a 7-year-old small family-run business, the company have managed to overcome many obstacles to become one of the top producing banana farms in Costa Rica, with over 3,200 banana boxes per hectare per year, at least 400 banana boxes per hectare more than the average of the country.

The success of Varcli Pinares S.A., however, is due to three added principles, on which it has built its foundations: innovation, sustainability, and simplicity. These principles have produced a high level of quality and production. Currently, according to the quality control unit for Del Monte International, Varcli Pinares S. A. is the best quality producer for that company in Costa Rica. The farm’s estimated banana production is expected to reach 3,500 boxes per hectare in 2017, that’s 300 boxes more per hectare and growing.

By correct management and cost efficiency the company has created the possibility to start it’s project from 30 hectares in 2009, with only 15 workers, to become a banana plantation of 120 hectares, quadruplicating its size in 7 years, giving work for more than 60 families of the vicinity of Matina.
The spirit of the company is to create a precedent, applying a new way to produce bananas, a sustainable way. Sustainability for this administration is not only to strive to become as organic as the conditions of Costa Rica let it be, but also to improve in matters of how to maintain a coherence between environmental sustainability, the capacity to give jobs to the families of the province of Limon and also to become cost efficient in an industry that usually does not value innovation, instead volume production.

Achievements

Environmental Sustainability
Varcli Pinares S. A. has pioneered in the reduction of water consumption from 145 liters per banana box in traditional packing plants, to the amount of only 4 liters. This was able by the appliance of a new methodology of production known as “New Millennium”, which involves the production of banana boxes without the usage of water tanks.

By using this methodology, the company was also able to reduce the amount of chemicals needed for the for the usage and recycling of water in the banana tanks, by only needing the use of chlorine to make the water potable.

Varcli Pinares S. A. proudly counts itself as pioneer in the implementation of solar energy for the production of bananas, generating all of its energy requirements with this type of energy.
Aware that environmental sustainability involves not only water and energy supplies for the production of bananas, but also maintaining the biodiversity of the soil, preventing the erosion and reducing the acidity of the soil, the management has devoted itself to become a NO herbicide farm, having 100% of its undergrowth controlled only with scythes. This practice maintains the biodiversity of the microorganisms in the soil, prevents erosion, acts as an organic fertilizer when the grass is cut, prevents the dryness of the soil in times of drought, reduces the acidification of the soil, and helps the soil to transpire an oxygenize.

Additionally, Varcli Pinares S. A. also have become pioneer in the appliance of “Agricultural Precision” in Costa Rica, by becoming the first company to apply a new technology brought by the company Abopac S. A., a fertilizer company, which consists in all the equipment required to know the chemical, physical, biological and electrical information of the soils of the farm, the meteorological information for the 100 hectares of the plantation, and also the equipment required to understand the amount of nutrients in the soil and how the banana plant absorbs them. By applying these technologies, Varcli Pinares S. A. have become a company capable of creating knowledge by the minute, helping to determine when a what to apply to the soil, in order to become sustainable through time.

The company also have an additional extension of 150 hectares of soil which will not be used for banana production. Instead, the goal is to dedicate 50 hectares for the farming of cattle, giving the company the potential to produce organic matter for the maintenance of the soil of the banana plantation. The remaining 100 hectares are going to be dedicated for the preservation of the flora and the wildlife, which includes the compromise of planting 5000 trees per year, by an alliance with the Costa Rican Electricity Institute.

Workers’ Wellbeing and Growth
Sustainable means also to promote worker’s growth and health, that is why Varcli Pinares S. A. has devoted itself to produce agricultural practices that are considered as the easiest and lightest of all of the banana companies in Costa Rica, yet they are also considered one of the best well paid.
An example is the harvesting process. Traditional harvesting processes involve putting a whole banana bunch in the shoulders of the harvesters, producing back injuries though time. By utilizing the “Quesada” harvesting process, which involves dehanding the banana bunches inside the plantation, arranging the banana hands in beds which have be moved by 2 workers, distributing the weight of the banana bunch by half.

Varcli Pinares S. A. not only includes in its pay roles the guaranty of competitive wages, but also a special quality bonus for the harvesting and packing labors, which increments their pay role by an additional 10%. The organization includes as a normal practice the workers’ health, by having their workers inscribed in the Costa Rican Social Security Box (CCSS), which involves social security for invalidity, old age and death, but also social security for pregnancy and lactation, and an additional insurance for work risks.

Other important practices applied by the company are the permission for the workers to become independent growers by lending them several acres of land cost free, so they can grow crops such as corn, cucumbers, papayas, chayotes and watermelons.

Women Taskforce
An important aspect of the company is the involvement of female labor for the packing processes, having 60% of the packing plant composed of women. The top administration is aware of the importance of the female taskforce for the companies, so it not only has a special treatment for women at pregnancy state, but also we encourage women to work as well as they can, and if by chance they become pregnant, 1 month before they give birth and 3 months after, they are given permission to stay at home, being maintained by the social security right, already paid by the company.


Community Sustainability - Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability involves helping the community and the wildlife, that is why Varcli Pinares S. A. have partnerships with the Pacuare Reserve, created by John Denham, which is the organization responsible of guarding the biggest hatching post for the Leatherback turtles, from poachers that go to the beach to steal their eggs.

The partnership consists not only in donating money for the schoolchildren educational program, but also the donation of banana boxes for the feeding of the personnel of the Reserve and its guests, and lending cost free a peer where all the student groups, international tourists and technical groups can hop into the boat to enter the reserve by the canals.

The organization contributes in the community by donating bats for the baseball teams of the canton, donating TV’s and prices for the raffles of the school and college of Matina, and also by opening the doors of the company for visits of groups of national and international students, for a banana tour in the farm.

Adding innovation, environmental sustainability, and simplicity to the company’s driving principles have led to several key achievements:

  1. Four years in a row 0% non-conformities for the GLOBALG.A.P. certification.
  2. Today, Varcli Pinares S. A. exports its bananas to several parts of the world, such as United States, Spain, Italy, Japan, and the Middle East.
  3. The Use of Solar Energy: Varcli Pinares S. A. is the first banana producer in Costa Rica, and possibly the world, to use solar energy as the only energy source for the banana packing process.
  4. Reduction of water consumption from 145 liters per banana box down to 4 liters. That’s a water reduction use of 97% per regular banana box!
  5. Reduced need for chemicals in the washing process, as the only chemicals needed are chlorine (3 parts per million) and citric acid.
  6. Substantial Reduction in the Use of Herbicides: Varcli Pinares S. A. maintains 100% of its total production area without the use of herbicides.
  7. The banana producer uses the "Amamantis", which is the full stem of the banana plant, as this supports the banana offspring and helps reduce the chemical fertilizers by 20% of the normal need.
  8. Also the company uses the "Quesada" harvesting process, which makes Varcli Pinares S.A. one of the least harmful and most efficient banana harvesting processes in the industry.
  9. Corporate Social Responsibility: Varcli Pinares S. A. has a recognition program that represents an additional 10% of the daily base wage.
  10. Alliances with Pacuare Reserve, which mean for the company working in the education of young students for the preservation of the Leatherback turtles.
  11. Reducing Administrative Waste: By implementing of a virtual system for the management of the company, we have reduced the amount of paper we use.
  12. Pioneers in Agricultural Precision: by introducing new technologies with the company Abopac.