( Fyffes )

Fyffes is offering year-round assistance to its workers in melon fields in Honduras and Guatemala.

As the import season begins for Central American melons, the company said in a news release that it has engaged with growers on a year-round basis to help improve their living conditions.

“These initiatives are aimed at providing an off-season source of income to improve both the quality and variety of food available to Fyffes sourcing regions,” the company said in the release.

Since 2014, the release said Fyffes has sponsored a program providing acres of land on which its seasonal workers can plant and cultivate corn.

“The well-being of our employees and of the communities in which we operate is a Fyffes core value,” Fyffes North America president Enda Walsh said in a news release. “We are always exploring ways in which to partner with communities who face challenges.”

This year, Fyffes shared acres of land in Honduras to enable dozens of its workers to plant corn and also provided the husking equipment, irrigation sources, necessary fuel and even on-site technical expertise, according to the release.

Through the partnership, the release said local farmers donated a percentage of the corn crop to local families in need, including the ill, the elderly and single-parent families.

“There are many of us farmers who do not have land, but the company has given us this possibility,” Selvin Erazo, a program participant and Fyffes seasonal worker for more than 15 years, said in the release.

Also earlier this year, Fyffes partnered with the Honduran chapter of non-profit Amigos de la Tierra (“Friends of the Earth”) to engage community-board presidents in five neighboring villages with a plan to develop family orchards as a way to alleviate hunger and provide income to growers.

“Creating these family orchards is a sustainable solution for some of the off-season’s challenges that our farming communities face,” Fyffes Global Sustainability Director Julie Cournoyer said in the release. “We are particularly encouraged by programs that can benefit groups that are not as easily employable, such as senior citizens—a core value of Fyffes.” 

Fyffes also has lent tractors to help growers plow fields that otherwise would have been tilled by hand.

“As a produce company, we are well aware of the challenges independent farmers face, and we’re pleased to help some of them improve their working conditions while increasing crop yields,” Cournoyer said in the release. “It ultimately translates into greater well-being for all.”

More information on the community support program is available at Fyffes.com.