Marike de Peña is Director and co-founder of Banelino, a banana cooperative comprising nearly 400 small farmers in the Northwestern Dominican Republic, since 2000. She also is Chair of the Latin American and Caribbean Network of Small Producer Organizations (CLAC) and has served on its board since 2006.
Marike was born in Holland, but has lived and worked in the Dominican Republic for 25 years. Among other positions, she worked for the Dominican Land Reform Institute, where she supported small farmer groups in developing sustainable agricultural practices. She continued her focus on supporting small farmers by co-founding the Banelino cooperative in 1996. The cooperative works to defend the interests of farmers in the market and promotes strong farmer alliances and organization. Marike is also coordinator of a network of banana farmers, and president of the Dominican national platform for small Fairtrade farmers.
A strong advocate for the power of Fairtrade, Marike believes that it provides the social, economic and environmental conditions necessary for farmers to take control of their own lives and produce real and long-lasting development.
The international Fairtrade system includes three producer networks, 25 Fairtrade organizations, Fairtrade International, and FLOCERT, the independent certification body of the global Fairtrade system.