Water-Assessment

Background Information

Targeted farms and packing facilities in Costa Rica include:

  1. Dole’s pineapple farm, “El Muelle” (conventional farm), and packing facility.
  2. Dole’s pineapple farm, “EcoPiñas del Arenal” (organic farm), and packing facility.
  3. Dole’s banana farm, “Rio Frio” (conventional farm), and three packing facilities, one of which one is a modern packing facility called the “New Millennium Packing Plant.”

Targeted farms and packing facilities in Honduras include:

  1. Dole’s pineapple farm, “Montecristo” (conventional farm), and packing facility.
  2. Dole’s banana farm, “Guanacaste” (conventional farm), and packing facility.
  3. An independent grower’s banana farm, “Casmul” (conventional farm), and packing facility.

The main difference between these two countries is that in Costa Rica, bananas and pineapples are rain-fed crops, while the analyzed farms in Honduras use some sort of irrigation.

The analyzed packing facilities where bananas are handled within the Rio Frio Farm in Costa Rica have three different systems of water usage. Thus, this study aims to show how the systems differ in terms of their water footprints, focusing on the recently tested process of the “New Millennium Packing Plant.”

In Honduras, a Dole banana farm is compared with the farm of an independent banana grower. The main difference between those two farms is in irrigation method. Although both use rotor sprinklers and “under tree” irrigation, Dole’s farm includes usage of Time Domain Reflectors and weather stations. The independent grower, on the other hand, uses experience (with the help of climatic data and soil samples).

The results of this study offer a great deal of insight to different systems of growing and handling these two assessed crops in terms of water footprint.

Because this assessment focuses on chosen farms and systems, the results refer only to bananas and pineapples of those analyzed farms and do not give generic numbers for all Dole pineapples and bananas produced in Costa Rica and Honduras, or elsewhere.

This water footprint study is done according to the Water Footprint Manual – the only one in existence so far – that is made by Hoekstra et al. and published in 2009.The study also takes into account parts of the new methodology that have been developed and provided by the Water Footprint Network, though they are not yet available to the public.