Dole Food Company, Inc. works with thousands of independent growers from around the world, whose plantations vary greatly in size. Some of Dole’s products are bought from large independent growers, but others come from family farmers.
Dole believes in order to effectively implement sustainable agricultural practices, it is necessary to develop strong, long-term relationships with our independent growers. Because we strive to treat all of our partners with respect, the Company has worked with many of the same growers for over 40 years!
To facilitate relationship longevity, as well as prevent misunderstandings or discrepancies in business practices, all growers must comply with the Dole standards. Our Company provides direction, technical guidance and training to both growers and suppliers in regards to safety, environmental protection and product quality. Knowing that Dole holds itself and its affiliates to the highest standards, suppliers are offered recommendations and in-depth education on Good Agricultural Practices for irrigation, fertilization, weed, nematode, insect and disease control, among other topics. Dole’s agronomists are in constant communication with the growers and also visit their fields regularly to monitor practices, measure performance and provide assistance as needed.
Dole’s agronomists are specifically trained to conduct formal and informal audits. If they identify issues during a field visit, Dole and the growers work together to find a solution. If an independent grower fails to comply, then it is the responsibility of Dole management to intervene immediately so that product quality and environmental protection are maintained. As part of Dole’s commitment to building healthy relationships, the Company will cease business with any noncompliant supplier.
Dole’s Technical Assistance programs for independent banana and pineapple growers worldwide have been integrated into Dole’s ISO 14001 certifications.