Ecuador turns to family farms for wheat

04 March 20142 min reading
Southern American country Ecuador focused on small-scale family farms in order to increase wheat production in the country. Meeting a great part of its wheat need with import, Southern American country Ecuador started a program for small-scale family farms in order to increase wheat production. Wheat is an important crop for many families in Ecuador. However, domestic wheat production meets less than two percent of the country’s demand. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), about 98 percent of the wheat consumed in the country is imported. Since the 1970s, factors such as low yields and low prices for local wheat have caused the steady decline of Ecuadorian wheat production. In 2012 with the assistance of FAO, the Ecuadorian government started the program Emprendimiento Estratégico del Trigo (Strategic Wheat Ventures) in the town of Alausí in the province of Chimborazo to address this situation and improve domestic wheat production. More than 1,200 small-scale family farmers were directly or indirectly involved in the intervention. Participating farmers were provided with better quality seeds and were invited to attend training programs in sustainable land management, post-harvest and product marketing and quality control. Through the use of multidisciplinary teams and State involvement, Emprendimiento Estratégico del Trigo has proven the great potential family farming has in crop production. The program has raised confidence regarding public policies addressing the development of small-scale family farmers and the involvement of the government at the local level. The United Nations declared 2014 the International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) to emphasize the importance of family and smallholder farmers.
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