Coffee and Bananas and Pineapples, Oh My!

  • Today my Plus3 group visited a banana plantation as well as a pineapple plantation. While visiting these locations, I was interested in the similarities and differences between the supply chains for bananas, pineapples, and coffee. To start, is is clear that the supply chain for coffee is far more complicated than the same process for pineapples and bananas. While coffee goes from the sourcer, to the roaster, to the grounder, to the retailer, to the customer; the fruits go from the sourcer, to the retailer, to the customer. Thus, there are two less steps in the supply chain for the fruits. The plantations also differ due to their reach. The bananas and pineapples are sold internationally. However, the coffee is mainly just sold to local markets. 
  • A key similarity between the 3 types of plantations involves how each supports the environment, their workers, and the community. First, each of the plantations protects the environment by employing recycling. The old pineapple, banana, and coffee plants are ground up and put back into the ground. This adds nutrients for the future plants that will grow there. Next, these plantations support their workers by providing them with fare wages and positive working conditions. This leads into how these plantations support the community. Many Nicaraguans come to work in Costa Rica, and they are provided much better living conditions in Costa Rica than in their home country. Thus, these plantations provide Nicaraguans with a better community to live in. 
  • There are some issues that are unique to the banana and pineapple plantations. A major problem involves bruising the plants. If the bananas and pineapples are handled the wrong way, the fruits will be bad by the time they get to the grocery store. This issue is resolved by holding a pineapple by its leaves and holding the bunch of bananas by the stem. In addition, another problem involves the short span of how long the fruits are good for. It is a struggle to get the fruits to the customers before they go bad. Still, they can be preserved for longer by keeping the fruits cold while they are being transported. Moreover, this method makes it possible for bananas to be preserved for around 40 days. 
  • Analyzing the coffee, banana, and pineapple plantations made me think about where I would want to work if I was a plantation worker. Furthermore, I would like to work on a Doka coffee plantation. The main reason that I have come to this conclusion is due to the benefits that Doka’s employees receive. While working for Doka, the employees there are provided housing, childcare, and food essentials by the company. Another reason that I would want to work on a coffee plantation is because the coffee season only lasts a few months (unlike the seasons for bananas and pineapples which last the entire year). This would allow to do a different job during the other months of the year. I think this break would be good due to the strenuous nature of manual labor jobs.  

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