Affordable quality food for Quito's consumers

Affordable quality food for Quito's consumers

City policies can offer opportunities for farmers and push food production and consumption towards more sustainability.

What we eat is a reflection of the traditions and customs of our country. Every country has its own typical dishes, dishes that express its cultural and natural richness. Ecuadorian cuisine is particularly diverse, varying with the altitude of specific geographic zones and the associated agricultural conditions. This ranges from seafood and plantains in the coastal regions, over cuy, corn and potatoes in the mountainous regions, to a wide variety of fresh fruits rare or unknown outside the country (gooseberries, granadillas, tree tomatoes, naranjillas, ...), and high quality coffee and cocoa.

The production of food is an essential part of the way of life in rural communities. It is not only an important source of income; it also has a significant impact on the environment. A positive one if agriculture is practiced in a responsible, sustainable way.

But as Ecuador's cities continue to grow and more young people leave the countryside behind, the following question pops up: how to make sure there is enough, affordable, quality food available for all consumers, and specifically urban consumers? Farming communities in rural and peri-urban areas have a key role to play. City policies can offer opportunities for farmers and push food production and consumption towards more sustainability.

We partner with Conquito, the operating agency of the municipality of Quito, to tackle the sustainable production of local fresh fruits and vegetables and locally grown coffee, for the benefit of urban consumers in Quito.

The city-region of Quito hosts a vast population of different social classes. It is imperative for the city to have a food policy that can guarantee the well-being of each and every one of its inhabitants. With our Food Smart Cities initiative, we hope to contribute to a change in mindset, towards the consumption of more locally-grown, sustainable food.

We bring evidences to the table of inclusive and sustainable food value chains (fruits & vegetables, but also coffee), that have been made possible through close collaborations between public and private partners. The first step has already been taken by the city council by being one of the signatories to the Milan Pact.

Locally-grown fruits and vegetables

UCCOPEM, short for the Union of Rural and Indigenous Organisations Chochasquí Pedro Moncayo, is an organisation with over 4,000 members. They and their families belong to 32 communities, located in 5 parishes in the Pedro Moncayo canton: Tabacundo, Malchingui, La Esperanza, Tupigachi and Tocachi. The canton is located approximately 60 kilometers north of Quito, Ecuador.

160 of UCCOPEM's members produce gooseberry ( Physalis peruviana, in Ecuador known as uvilla). Every year, they produce about 200,000 kilos of organic gooseberries, which are sold to buyer Terra Fertil. The producers adopt agro-ecological practices to ensure that their produce is of high quality, while at the same time protecting their environment. Other UCCOPEM members produce vegetables, cereals and dairy products; while even others are active in completely different domains, including tourism and leather processing.

A local coffee culture

We are supporting the coffee chain development, namely by promoting the consumption of coffee that is processed in the country instead of imported coffee. We want to install a real, local coffee culture. Read more about our work with AACRI, AAPROCNOP and RAPCI here.

Challenges

  • Climate change directly affects harvests, and hence the ability of farmers to feed themselves and sell to markets.

  • Young people move away from the rural areas to Quito, and the number of farmers keeps on declining.

  • Local and national public policies tackling issues production, market access and consumption are crucial to improve our food system.

  • In Quito, a small number of companies and distributing companies occupy the largest market share when it comes to the influx of food into the city, leaving little to no place for products from small-scale agriculture.

Strategies

  • We focus on the social and environmental aspects of sustainability.

  • We open up opportunities for women and youth to make the agricultural sector more sustainable.

  • We adapt currently used agricultural production practices to better deal with climate change.

  • We strengthen the role of local govenrments in the design of public policies in favour of the inhabitants of rural and peri-urban areas.

  • We partner with other actors to achieve a solid food policy that could set precedents on a regional and international level. We showcase good examples and share them with other municipalities in our international Food Smart City Cluster.

Project duration

2017-2021

What do we want to achieve?

  • UCCOPEM has a transparent organisational structure and adequately represents its members (men and women).

  • UCCOPEM has improved its business capacities and markets significantly more produce of their members.

  • The members of UCCOPEM are less vulnerable to climate change.

  • UCCOPEM and its members are paid a fair price for their gooseberries and other crops.

  • Read more about expected results in the coffee sector here.

  • Urban consumers living in the Metropolitan District of Quito are more conscious about where their food comes from, and have easy access to fruit and vegetables from family farms, and to locally grown coffee. This growing consciousness contributes to a growing demand for food from family farms.

  • Conquito develops and implements food strategies, and establishes a multi-stakeholder platform with both public and private stakeholders.

  • The cities that have subscribed to the Milan Pact can build on their ideas through networks.

Conquito

Conquito

Operating agency of the municipality of Quito

Nataly Pinto Alvaro
Nataly Pinto Alvaro
Directora de Programa Sistemas Alimentarios Sustentables y Resilientes | Ecuador