Indigenous Experiences in Agricultural Production in Ecuador: Sustaining and Ancient Cultural Tradition of Growing and Consuming Quinoa
Colonialization’s racism and discrimination in Latin America have pushed many indigenous populations to poverty in isolated rural areas with limited access to resources, education, and technology, particularly as relates to agriculture, their main source of income and employment. Governments and development organizations recognize agriculture as a key channel for developmental growth in rural areas. Fundamyf, a non-governmental organization, has focused on promoting agricultural growth to increase the quality of life of small-scale indigenous producers through the production, consumption, and sale of quinoa. While quinoa is an ancient crop traditionally consumed and produced by indigenous populations in the Andes of South America, its demand has increased due to its high nutritional content among health-conscious consumers in wealthy countries. However, the increased production has created criticisms of the top two quinoa exporters (Peru and Bolivia) on how producers prefer to sell their entire crop instead of consuming it as historically done. This presentation focuses on indigenous farmers in Ecuador, the third largest producer of quinoa, as little research exists on the impacts of quinoa production in this country. This research focuses on Fundamyf’s efforts to increase indigenous producers well-being through the production and sale of the ancient crop, while still consuming it.