Alter Trade’s inception is traced to the socio-political-economic crisis that gripped Negros in year 1985.
From 1950s until 1980s, Negros was mainly dependent on its sugar industry with 60% of the Philippines sugar output coming from Negros province. In 1985, the world sugar prices hit rock bottom resulting to the displacement of around 440,000 landless sugar workers in Negros and also affecting hundreds of thousands dependents. In 1986, every fifth child on the island under the age of six was seriously malnourished prompting the United Nations Children’s Fund to extend supplementary feeding program.
In same year 1985, Negros Occidental became known throughout the country and abroad as suffering from socio-economic catastrophe. Many local and international aids came to Negros as support to hundreds of thousands of sugar workers suffering from extreme poverty and hunger but were seen as a non-sustainable solution.
In 1987, Alter Trade was established bringing forward “Trade-not-Aid,” as the sustainable solution to the crisis.
Mascobado™ derived from the word “masses,” meaning “people,” was the first product to be traded and the first customer was a consumers’ cooperative in Japan. In 1988, Alter Trade also secured markets for Mascobado in Europe with OS3 in Switzerland and Gepa in Germany.
In 1989, balangon banana was introduced to the Japanese consumers’ cooperatives. A relationship triggered by the visit of Japanese consumers in Negros in 1987. Balangon became the banner product of people-to-people relationship between Negros balangon growers and Japanese consumers. Balangon banana was the first and only banana produced by small-holder farmers that have successfully gained entry in the Japanese market widely dominated by bananas of multi-national corporations. It is by the sweat of the brow of numerous balangon farmers from different production areas nationwide to send a container load of naturally grown balangon bananas to Japan.
Organic sugarcane production certification in 1995 allowed Alter Trade to expand the Mascobado markets in Europe, Asia and the United States. Alongside are the balangon planting expansions to other islands and the implementation of the Balangon Cultural Management practices.
2016 September 27, Altertrade Philippines Inc. (ATPI) was incorporated to stress focus on domestic retail trading. Though still maintaining and strengthening relationships with international solidarity partners, ATPI to intensify efforts for retail marketing bannering “Food Sovereignty Beyond Borders.”
2017 March 28, Altertrade Philippines Foundation for Food Sovereignty, Inc. (ATPF) was founded as the social development arm of ATPI. ATPF to focus in realizing Altertrade’s mission of poverty alleviation in rural communities.