Ecuador’s natural, cultural and ethnic diversity makes it one of the richest countries in the world. Oil, natural resources and fertile soil are found between Andean peaks, tropical cloud forests, Amazonian jungle and coastal lands. Despite its wealth, Ecuadorians experience some of the greatest economic, social and political inequities as a result of over five centuries of exploitation, irrational extraction and weak political infrastructure and policies.
Smallholder farmers in Ecuador produce 65 percent of the basic staples in the family diet in plots smaller than 10 hectares. Small yet critical to the nutrition of Ecuadorians, these family plots account for only 10 percent of arable land in the country. The rest of the land belongs to large farms and agricultural corporations.
Heifer's Work in Ecuador
Heifer International has worked for 54 years to support rural development and farmer organizations in Ecuador. There have been three phases in this period: First, Heifer International began its work in supporting rural development process in Ecuador in 1954, with agricultural programs, promoted initially by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Second, Heifer support opened up for other stakeholders, such as rural organizations and other geographical areas. Third, beginning in 1992, this more holistic approach expanded initiatives to work with other rural organizations, expanding geographically and also in outlook and work areas.
Recently Heifer Ecuador has given priority to working directly with rural organizations, including grassroots and second-tier provincial. Heifer's relationships with partner organizations, especially rural organizations, address the challenge of building, on the basis of food sovereignty, a decent life for country people. Current work promotes advocacy through small farmers’ actions. Heifer Ecuador, compared to other cooperation-sector organizations in Ecuador, clearly emphasizes the work to reinforce the country’s rural movement and enhance their possibilities to coordinate as significant stakeholders.
Key Services Heifer Provides:
Sustainable agricultural production: Agro-biodiversity recovery and conservation, Measuring, documenting, producing ecologically sound practices among smallholder farmers
Post-harvest management and processing: Promoting smallholder farmer production in response to market demand
Market development: Increasing market opportunities for smallholder farmers; Support marketing and circulation of small farm agroecological produce; Facilitate coordination among organizations of consumers and producers
Technology: Improving the National Gene bank; Technical assistance in implanting sustainable technologies
Nutrition: Advocate for food sovereignty policies
See where Heifer is working around the world to end hunger.
We sell the horchata for 40 cents a glass and can earn about $150 in a day. It is a source of income. It helps with the costs of school for my son and food for home.
In January 2011, Heifer began implementing a project in partnership with El Guabo.
Pierre connects the dots between Heifer programs around the world.
Heifer Participant Wilson Sanchez on Agroecological Banana Farm