Sorry for the long radio silence from Friends of Ecuador. Like many of you, we’ve been working from home for many months in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic. COVID also hit Ecuador pretty hard, particularly the city of Guayaquil which faced challenges of bodies on the streets.
The situation there has improved but Ecuador remains vulnerable:
“More than 10,000 deaths were recorded in Guayas, the province where Guayaquil is located, during March and April, according to government data. Officials said this was nearly 6,000 more deaths than typically recorded under normal circumstances, authorities said. It is still unclear, however, how many died of COVID-19, the infectious disease caused by the novel coronavirus. Many others are believed to have died because they were unable to get proper treatment due to the city’s collapsed healthcare system. The situation in Guayaquil has since mostly stabilised, and its strict quarantine eased, but the city continues to feel the virus’s lasting effects.”
We will endeavor to bring you more news on a regular basis in coming months. Please consider supporting the two projects featured this month Mushuk Yuyay and Conciencia Amazónica.
We encourage our Friends of Ecuador community to support Mushuk Yuyay, an organization we have worked with for several years.
You can support them through the Ecuador Relief Fund here.
They are hoping to raise $35,000 but whatever support we can provide would be helpful.
The Asociación Mushuk Yuyay is an indigenous-led financial and agricultural cooperative located in the region of Cañar, Ecuador. The association employs a network of local producers to grow native staple crops such as quinoa and amaranth, the harvest of which is purchased by the association at a just price and sold under a commercial label named ‘Alli Mikuna’ – ‘Good Food’ in the native Kichwa language. This label sells their grains primarily to communities within Ecuador, but international purchasers have also shown interest in this nutritious food.
In May 2020, local producers in Cañar initiated the harvest of their staple crops and in June 2020 celebrate the FIESTA DE INTIRAYMI – Kañari festival of the Sun, in gratitude to the Earth Mother Pachamama for the harvest reaped.
During the 2020 harvests, the local production is anticipated to yield:
180,000 Kilograms = 396,828 pounds of BARLEY
21,600 Kilograms = 47,606 Pounds of QUINOA
Under normal circumstances, 40% of this crop is purchased by the Association Mushuk Yuyay, 30% saved for farmer consumption and seedstock, and 30% sold to the local market.
Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the local markets have remained closed for sanitation purposes, and many producers are left with the question: where to sell the remaining 30% of the crop? With no other outlet of sale, local farmers will likely have to sell to middleman exporters rock-bottom rates for their traditional grain.
In response to this, the local producers in Cañar have requested Asociación Mushuk Yuyay raise funds to purchase the remaining 30% of the 2020 crop at a just price. This is the only available solution they see which does not lead to economic disruption and potential recession for the producers.
For this specific reason, Asociación Mushuk Yuyay has humbly requested donations from the international non-profit community in order to purchase the remaining 30% of this crop and protect their producers from economic exploitation by the export market.