I Traveled To A Banana Farm And This Is What I Discovered
The cell phone light illuminated the room as if it were a soccer stadium.
Confused I looked at the clock, it was 3 in the morning.
I took the cell phone and realized that I had several messages from my boss asking for me.
It took me a few seconds to realize that the day had come and that it was too late to get to the airport.
For months he had planned a trip to the most remote parts of the Colombian coast to go to the banana farms, and meet those people in charge of coordinating the shipment of bananas to Santa Marta so that they are then exported all over the world.
As fast as I could I got ready and left for the airport.
At 9 in the morning the pilot welcomed me to the Simón Bolívar de Santa Marta international airport.
As I left the airport, the warm breeze and the smell of the sea greeted me, along with Oscar, who had the mission of taking me from the airport to a banana farm, 32 km from Santa Marta, hidden between mangroves and endless swamps.
When I got there I met Elber, the farm manager who gave me a tour of the property and proudly showed me the process by which tons of bananas from his farm reach tables all over the world.
At that moment, his cell phone rang with a message from the Bananas marketer, warning that the container in which he would transport the ton of bananas for the day would arrive in half an hour.
I followed him to make sure everything was ready by the time the truck with the container arrived, and a short time later his cell phone rang again. This time they notified him that the truck had had a problem on the road and was taking half an hour longer than expected.
“This system seems magic that tells me where the container is coming from and if something happens.”
I couldn’t contain a smile.
That “magic” Elber talks about was actually why I was meeting him at the farm.
While for Elber knowing where her container comes from seems like an act of magic, I know that it is far from magic. It is state-of-the-art technology, distributed in each step of the process from the moment the container leaves the marketer in Santa Marta, passing through the hundreds of farms until returning to Santa Marta, where the bananas are unloaded and distributed or prepared for export.
For me that magic is called Twnel.
While we sat for a while to wait for the container, very excited Elber told me that before they worried a lot about not knowing where the container came from.
Sometimes he would arrive earlier than expected and the truck drivers would get angry because they had to wait at the farm longer than expected. If, on the other hand, he arrived late, they ran the risk of losing part of the harvest, since bananas are damaged in the sun, and the farm is paid because of the quality of the banana and its weight.
“Recently the banana company gave us this tool”
Showing me his cell phone, he opened the Twnel app and showed me some of the things he could do with Twnel.
“If I press this button on the screen, they tell me instantly how long the container needs to arrive and if I press this other one, I can tell the managers in Santa Marta that there has been a change in the quantity of bananas that we are going to send them.”
At that moment, the truck arrived with the container that would take the bananas to Santa Marta.
After seeing how they did all the loading, between Elber and other workers on the farm, I understood the importance of the solution that the Twnel team had built.
We always talk about how we are empowering mobile users with Twnel, but at the time I was living it.
The driver had been able to warn the marketer, while he was en route, that he would be delayed; And likewise, Elber and his team were informed in real time to avoid waste, and why not, a discount on their payments at the end of the month.
When the truck finally left for Santa Marta, I saw my watch and realized that I had to call Oscar in order to get to the airport and take the flight back home.
Before I left, I asked Elber if he would recommend using Twnel to other farm managers.
After all, that’s what he had traveled to, but among so many interesting stories he had forgotten.
Without hesitation, he answered yes. As normally this type of study is carried out by asking on a scale of 1 to 10 with the 10 being the best score, I repeated the question.
10, he answered me without hesitation once more.
“The tool not only improved our coordination with the arrival of the containers, but now we have a direct line with the banana marketer and we have a better relationship with them.”
With that phrase in my head I was happy.
I got on the plane delighted to be able to continue telling stories like this. Twnel’s mission is no longer just a sentence written on a web page, it was living it.
He had seen Twnel empower hundreds of drivers, grocers, merchants, and now allies of banana farms.
See more stories of empowering allies from the voice of their protagonists here.