Platanero Río Sixaola - A role model for sustainable agriculture in the tropics

Located in one of the biodiversity hotspots of our planet, Platanera Río Sixaola is dedicated to producing high-quality bananas and doing sustainable business in harmony with mankind and nature. Since 1989, the company has been operating 275 hectares of land located in Bribri, a fertile but vulnerable region near the Caribbean border between Costa Rica and Panama. The company’s vision is to make things better than they were before, which is why it is permanently looking for and applying techniques to improve resource efficiency, soil quality and biodiversity. The idea behind is a resilient integrative agricultural system that, for example, allows the business to lower pesticide use and invest the saved money elsewhere (e.g. in renewable energy).

Platanera Río Sixaola already achieved EurepGAP certification back in 1997 and continues to build on strong partnerships: today, several co-operations with heterogeneous partners help the company to reach its targets. Experts provide advice on how to enhance the sustainable approach, for example how to produce in a bee-friendly way, how to lower the water footprint, and how to engage the local community for proper waste recycling. In global networks, including the FAO program, World Banana Forum, and the UN Initiative Global Compact, experiences are shared about applied sustainable agriculture. The company also runs an environmental education program with the local elementary school San Box and a visiting program for tourists.

Platanera Río Sixaola prides itself in doing business to serve the people. Regardless of color, culture and gender, its teamwork is based on respect, transparency, fairness and honesty. Workshops, training measures and daily team activities educate and empower those involved. The company understands itself as a role model business for sustainable agriculture in the tropics and wishes to promote both awareness and practical solutions beyond the boundaries of the farm.

Since its foundation more than a quarter of a century ago, the company has been at the center of a number of success stories: The company recycles 100 % of the used washing water and produces its own proper organic fertilizer. No irrigation takes place and fossil water is not used. 80 % of the farm’s total energy requirements are covered by its own solar panels.

Together with independent experts, Platanera Río Sixaola regularly analyzes the water and carbon footprint of its operations. 520 tons more greenhouse gasses are absorbed than emitted, thus setting a big exclamation mark in terms of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal No. 13 of “taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.” Furthermore, the biodiversity on the farm and in the neighboring rivers is also monitored together with external experts, and several programs are being run to enhance biodiversity. These include planting seedlings of ancient regional endangered tree species and happy-bee programs, where nectar plants are planted, and hotels built for insects.