Make people live off
the Land sustainably
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  • Femme lavant son linge
  • Portrait d'une femme tenant une pelle (creusement d'une tranchee)
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Smallholder farming that holds its own against the agro-food industry

Ecuador is a small South American country with abundant natural resources and a rich ethnic and cultural diversity. It is a middle-income country with a strong economic dynamism, even though one-third of the population still lives in poverty. Ecuador also has an agricultural sector that operates at two speeds. On the one hand is the dominant export-oriented agricultural model with negative environmental and social impacts, and then there is smallholder farming, which focuses more on feeding Ecuadorians. Smallholder farming faces challenges in terms of access to land, water, credit, and markets and does not receive much support from the government.

Proving the importance and effectiveness of smallholder farming

AVSF has been working with smallholder and indigenous organizations since 1983 to develop innovations in the sustainable management of natural resources and rural areas and in better promoting smallholder products. By combining local projects that support smallholder organizations and their networks with national projects in research and training, AVSF assists in the development of public policy that supports smallholder farming.

  • AVSF’s projects have been successful in defending access to natural resources for smallholder families and strengthening methods of sustainable management and production:
  • construction or rehabilitation of more than ten traditional irrigation systems managed by smallholder communities in the Andes;
  • creation of an innovative model of joint management (between rural and urban actors) of water resources in a drainage basin in the Chimborazo province;
  • support for hundreds of smallholder farms in transitioning to agro-ecology and organic farming;
  • training of more than 200 technicians and promoters in the sustainable management of high-altitude ecosystems in the Andes;
  • design and implementation (by the Indian communities themselves) of land-use and development plans for Indian lands;
  • development of and getting state approval for a proposal of a national irrigation plan; drawing up and discussion within the National Assembly of a land law proposed by smallholder organizations.

AVSF’s projects have also allowed for better integration of smallholder farmers into markets:

  • strengthening more than 10 cooperatives of milk, cheese, and fruit producers in the local market and strengthening cooperatives of quinoa and cocoa producers in the international market within the framework of fair trade;
  • assisting in the creation of a national authority within the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture for managing short supply chains; helping organizations of smallholders involved in fair trade gain better recognition from the government.

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