Around 400 farmers from Pichincha and Azuay — mostly women — have managed to venture into the virtual field to sell their products online, through the website La Cosecha del Día.
This initiative, of the Heifer Foundation, seeks to promote sustainable food systems with the participation of producer associations, based on compliance with quality standards (products without chemicals), environmental (reduction of fossil fuels), fair trade and digital security (online sales).
In a tour made by this newspaper in mid-June of the collection center that the project has in Tabacundo, an hour and a half north of Quito, Arturo Espinoza, a 70-year-old farmer, told of his experience.
Dressed in a woolen and hooded hut, he strolled happily through his plot of vegetables, beans, corn, potatoes and medicinal plants. “I like to breathe, plant and eat healthy with my family,” he said, smiling. He lives with his wife, two children and two grandchildren in the Chimbacalle neighborhood, in the La Loma sector.
As soon as dawned, in a rental van he went to the collection center. There, along with ten other companions, he delivered his products and helped prepare the baskets that will later be displayed online.
The farmers who participate in La Canasta del Día, which is an online store,are part of the Regional Association of Food Sovereignty of the Kayambi Territory (Resak), the Pamar Chacrin Association of the Sígsig canton, Azuay; the Network of Guayabillas Producers of the parish of Pacto, Pichincha; and the Association of Agroecological Producers (APA) of Azuay.
Before the pandemic they sold their products in markets and fairs, but since the lockdown was decreed everything stopped. Although sales gradually recovered over time, they only consolidated when they came together and, practically, moved the fairs and markets to the digital world, with the website: La Cosecha del Día
“We knew we needed to update ourselves, as our sales dropped a lot in quarantine. We have been trained to continue selling our cultivated products respecting our Pachamama, “said Nelly Morocho, agricultural producer of resak.
Nelly Sagbay, 26, of the Pamar Chacrín Association, in the sígsig canton, said that with the project sales have improved, but that it is still expected to reach more customers.
The initiative is part of the Future of Food program, which takes place in Pichincha, Azuay and Galapagos. Rosa Rodríguez, director of the Heifer Ecuador Foundation, explained that in this way the local economy of each city in which they deliver their products is boosted.
“La Cosecha del Día is favorable, because before we were victims of the intermediaries, who were the ones who benefited the most and we were offered very cheap prices. In addition, NGOs have always encouraged us to have our own trade, our own fairs to sell our products directly to the consumer, “added Arturo Espinoza (I).