Ecuador’s rich cuisine owes its diversity to the country’s varying altitudes of specific geographic zones and its associated agricultural conditions. The growing population worldwide and in Ecuador as well, urges for future solutions to feed people quality and affordable food, especially urban 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 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 (guinea-pig), 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.This variety and richness should not be taken for granted.
Today, more than 50% of the world population lives in urban areas, and this number a percentage that is expected to grow to 68% by 2050. (UN, Dept of Economic & Social Affairs, 2018). Moreover, with current global trends in diets and population, 60% more food would be needed by 2050 (CCAFS/CGIAR). How to make sure that there will be enough, affordable, quality food available for all consumers, and specifically urban consumers?
There are almost 500 million smallholder farmers worldwide and they provide 80% of the global food production. Linkages and exchanges between cities and peri-urban and rural areas are of crucial importance to food systems and city policies can offer opportunities for farmers and push food production and consumption towards more sustainability.
The same global dynamics can be observed in the region of Quito where the majority of food production rests lies in the hands of small producers in rural areas (61.5%) and 4.6% of the population of the Quito Metropolitan District is engaged in agriculture. However, low wages (USD $15 per day) are hardly an incentive for rural youth to dedicate themselves to agriculture.
Like the majority of cities throughout the world, Quito is facing challenges to feed a growing population of more than 2.5 million persons, such as:
In Quito, Rikolto promotes an approach that moves the analysis of food systems beyond supply chain' studies. We investigate the interactions between diverse different levels of government and the sectors implicated in the food supply chain such as health, transport, education and the environment. We aim to support the transition towards sustainable, inclusive, and healthy local food systems.
We should think about these systems with an integrated perspective. There is set of planning instruments that government officials can utilize to include food and nutrition in their policy.
Between March and August 2019, three journalists from the magazine Eos Tracé visited partner cities of Rikolto's Good Food For Cities programme. During these visits, they interviewed more than 130 people and discovered initiatives that make safer, healthier and sustainable food more accessible to citizens. This book tells their stories from 9 cities in Vietnam, Belgium, Tanzania, Indonesia, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua.
Professionalize farmers’ organizations of Pedro Moncayo and Cayambe (UCCOPEM, RESSAK, and Biovida) to supply quality food to the Quito Metropolitan District in a timely and sustainable manner.
28 years ago I joined UCCOPEM working in children’s centers. Afterwards I started to grow vegetables but we didn’t have a place to sell what we produced. Now, since we sell in the agroecological market in Quito and I am more motivated.
Carmen | UCCOPEM farmer
Strengthen responsible consumption in Quito Region with the cooperation of the stakeholders in the food system.
Support the development of a sustainable food policy for the Quito Metropolitan District of Quito through a local and international platform, and by working closely with the Agency for Economic Growth CONQUITO and the Latin American Center for Rural Development (RIMISP)
In the construction of an urban food system in Quito, one of the biggest challenges is the supply of quality food to the city; we still don't know how it is produced (conventional, organic, agro-ecological production system), how it is processed and how food reaches the population in formal and informal markets
Nataly Pinto | (former colleague) Rikolto in Latin America
We implement the project activities by adopting a three-teer approach
On 2 October 2018, Quito became one of the few cities in Latin America to have signed a food charter outlining its commitment to a sustainable food system in the city. The “Quito Food Charter” comprises 17 agreements between food system stakeholders in the city-region that are built on 5 pillars:
We participated in the development of a sustainable food strategy and its implementation through the multi stakeholder platform “Quito Agrifood Pact” composed of farmers, civil society, the agri-food industry, nutritionists, researchers and international partners. Rikolto together with ConQUITO and the RUAF Foundation has been leading the discussion within the platform.
The City of Quito was awarded a Future Policy Award from FAO, IFOAM and the World Future Council for its innovative and participatory food policy.
We supported the partner organisation UCCOPEM (the Union of Rural and Indigenous Organisations Chochasquí Pedro Moncayo) in the creation of Yachik, a commercial brand that enables smallholder farmers to sell their agroecological produce in the city. Nowadays their products are sold in existing urban markets and thanks to an agreement with the government, a retail area has been allotted to the farmers in the Agroecological market on the Government Financial Management Platform in Quito.
With Yachik we aim to resolve one of our principle problems as farmers: the lack of markets. More selling areas and more clients bring more income for our families and our products don’t go to waste.
Rosa Inlago | Horticulturalist and member of UCCOPEM
RIMISP is a network that generates and systematizes knowledge, with the aim of understanding the transformations of the rural world and contributing to the formulation of improved strategies and policies for a sustainable and inclusive development. Together with Rikolto, RIMISP carries out on a monthly basis a “Rural Dialogue Group” and has launched a youth entrepreneurship network involving 15 provinces throughout the country
Working together with Rikolto meant that we jointly developed the city's food policy. This process involved strategic planning, gathering multiple actors to listen to their point of views and bringing in new ideas from Latin America and other parts of the world