Fausto Falconí is an agronomist, he is 60 years old and for 25 he worked with transnationals in conventional agriculture, with chemicals. 12 years ago his vision of the field changed and he learned the techniques of organic agriculture with small farmers and he dedicated himself to produce roses in Cayambe, then he sold that farm and a year and a half ago he fulfilled his dream:to produce vegetables, fruits, chickens and eggs in his new Pura Vida farm, inthe Czech parish, in Pichincha.
convinced that the field does not yield because many chemicals are used that kill the soil “and you do not have to ask too much of corpses”;believes that agroecology and organic agriculture gives low costs, high productivity and benefits.
“50%of our customers have health problems and are cured with food,” says Falconi, certified by Agrocalidad as organic, ecological and biological producer,
According to that state entity, Ecuador has 277 certified fresh organic products and 509processed for domestic and export consumption.
Rommel Betancourt, general coordinator of Agrocalidad Food Safety, notes that among the fresh products include cocoa, banana, coffee, quinoa, African palm oil,vegetables and medicinal plants; among the processed: chocolates, panela,drinks, dehydrated fruits, milk, yogurt and cheese that are grown without using many technological tools that are approved in a conventional production.
Yes,there are strata that can be used, foreseen in the “positive” list in international norms and in the General Regulation to Promote and Regulate Organic, Ecological and Biological Production in Ecuador, in force since 2013.
Betan courtindicates that since the new regulations there was a substantial increase.Currently, 0.8% of the agricultural land area of the country is destined fororganic production, that is, 41,279 hectares that are in the hands of 12,447producers, 480 individuals and 57 associations totaling 1,967 members. Of that total, 34,782 are already organic and 6,497 are in transition.
The benefit, he adds, lies in the low cost of not using certain chemicals, althoughnot using them increases the risk of pests. In the case of bananas, Gustavo Marún, from Agroban, explains that organic production is the closest thing to sustainability, a process that the sector started this month with the hiring of a study.
“Itis a complex process because there are diseases like black sigatoka, which is very difficult to control, so in certain cases you have to be forced to use achemical,” says Marún, who, however, points out that with proper management , it’s possible.
For the control and surveillance of this management, the Ecuadorian Accreditation Service (SAE) hired five accrediting companies: BCS, QCS, Ceres of Ecuador,Control Union and ICEA.
The promotion of these products is also supervised. This month the deadline of oneyear expires for the products to include in their packaging the logo of the certification.
Agrocalidad works to achieve the equivalence of local regulations with those of other important markets for organic production such as the United States and countries in Asia. With the European Union they seek to maintain it after achieving it in 2013 after almost two years of negotiations.
This,because European regulations are about to be modified in terms of the use of certain technological tools. “This year the amendment is already out, and with them we are working … to review how we can move forward taking into account that we went through several stages,” says Betancourt. (I)