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Jun 2, 2015

Santander Makes Peace with Valley Of Peace Farmers

Santander is keeping the peace with Valley of Peace, well the farmers, at least. You may remember that over a year ago, Santander, then known as Green Tropics, destroyed close to half a million dollars worth of crops belonging to the Valley of Peace Farmer’s Association. It was after months of back and forth of negotiations and the introduction of attorneys, that the matter was settled, but not after Green Tropics claimed that the crops, which were destroyed by herbicide spray, were planted on their titled land and served the farmers an eviction notice. Well, in recent weeks Santander has been meeting with the farmers and other partners and decided to gift them with even more acres than they had before. We spoke with Santander official to find out what prompted this generosity.

 

Beverly Burke

On the Phone: Beverly Burke, PR, Santander

“At the end of the day, Santander decided that it would be in the best interest of the farmers to basically improve their livelihood to provide them with what they needed most and that was titled land. So, we went through the process of identifying a portion of land on the Santander property and we surveyed out a piece of land for them and we had the handing over on Saturday and to say that this is your land and we cleared the land and everything for them to get to work.”

 

Duane Moody

“Ms. Beverly, from what I saw, the piece of land that they got is even bigger than what they had before?”

 

On the Phone: Beverly Burke

“Yes, it is definitely; it’s more than twice what they were farming originally. But we do understand that they have the need to grow and the association base is increasing. What’s important for us too is to create a buffer which is a significant piece of land that shows there is a clear division from our property that we will be using for the purpose of project development for the small farmers association.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why did your company feel it was necessary to take these steps with the locals?”

 

On the Phone: Beverly Burke

“Well, from the very beginning, our intention was never to create a fight and what was important was for us to establish how to deal with this matter and how to mitigate. When we finally sat down at the table and say let us understand what you need, it was an issue that we wanted to solve. Unlike popular comments, it was never a Goliath and David situation. It was an issue that needed dialoguing and at some point we had to discuss and come to an agreement that suit all the players. And to be honest, for Santander to give more than they had, is that we wanted to ensure that this issue never ever comes up again.”

 

The Santander Group has surveyed, parceled, and cleared the one hundred and sixty acres of land, valued at three hundred and twenty thousand dollars, as well as created a water source within the new farming location.

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