Concerns with rural poverty in Latin America have resulted in the development and application of various poverty alleviation projects, programs, and policies. Many of these efforts focus on agricultural development since a large segment of the rural poor rely on small-scale agricultural production. Quinoa is one agricultural product that has attracted much attention in such efforts because of its high nutritional value and its high demand in many developed countries. Considerable research related to quinoa production and the resulting effects on producers have been conducted in the two leading exporting nations, Bolivia and Peru. However, there have been only a few studies on quinoa production in Ecuador, the third top exporter.
This thesis is a case study of Fundamyf, a non-governmental organization (NGO) that works with female quinoa producers and their families in Chimborazo, a province with the highest quinoa production in Ecuador. The research focuses on poverty-alleviation strategies of Fundamyf, most particularly how organic quinoa production enhances the well-being of farmers. The study identified several important trends. First, Fundamyf activities have evolved over time, and many of its efforts have enhanced the well-being of female producers. These include activities and workshops on women's rights and leadership skills that have improved their status, skills, and abilities to contribute to their communities. Second, the NGO has facilitated training workshops and assistance on organic quinoa production, directed toward reducing exposure to harsh chemicals and enhancing income opportunities for both producers and their families. The NGO's nutrition-related training workshops have also promoted quinoa consumption among producers and families, beneficially reducing the consumption of less nutritional products. The NGO has, however, recently focused on income-generation activities by assisting the farmers with production, commercialization, and exportation of organic quinoa and by providing consulting services to other institutions, such as MAGAP, about quinoa and strategies for rural development. Such activities have raised questions about the NGO role as the intermediary between buyers and producers, and whether the income generated by the NGO is being passed on adequately to the producers.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/sumac-cardenas/2/