José Miguel Araque, a small farmer from Ecuador’s central highlands, had tried to make a living from potatoes, strawberries, onions and other crops, but the results were always poor. He had trouble selling all his harvest and often had to lower his prices to levels imposed by intermediaries that controlled the market. Then, with help from USAID, he planted broccoli and harvested his first crop within two months.
Due to high demand and easy processing, broccoli is one of the products that has helped Ecuador’s small farmers survive the depression that has affected the country’s agricultural trade for more than two decades. Ecuador has exported frozen broccoli florets to the United States and Europe since the early 1990s, but the industry was predominantly controlled by large producers.
USAID is working to get small farmers involved in international markets by helping them maximize production with crops like broccoli and form local cooperatives that give them more leverage. Converting small farms into well-functioning businesses will make the area more dynamic and productive and create better living standards for the residents.
Last updated: June 01, 2012