Today in Ecuador, Administrator Samantha Power launched a new public-private sector partnership to expand economic opportunities for small-scale producers and increase the environmental sustainability and long-term resiliency of Ecuador’s food supply chain.
The partnership is part of USAID’s EDGE Fund, an innovative incentive fund designed to engage the private sector to unlock its impact on global development challenges. As announced on September 20, 2023, USAID will provide $3 million in funding from EDGE and leverage an additional $3 million from Ecuadorian private-sector partners.
This partnership seeks to narrow the gap between small-scale farmers and the markets that support them, their families, and their communities. The EDGE partnership will include Corporación Favorita, Corporación Líderes para Gobernar (Business Leaders for Governance), and Alianza para el Emprendimiento e Innovación (the Alliance for Entrepreneurship and Innovation) to connect small-scale producers to Ecuador’s leading supermarket and retail company. These long-term private sector investments support a sustainable business model that will continue beyond the life of the EDGE partnership.
More than 84 percent of Ecuador's farmers are small producers with fewer than 10 hectares of land. Sixty-one percent of rural women work in agriculture, yet 86 percent of them are unpaid. Many of these producers lack access to quality seeds, fertilizer, farming practices, and financing. In addition, communities are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather and other effects of climate change.
Under this new partnership, producers, particularly women, will receive training in topics including agroecology, business, and biodiversity conservation. That training, along with additional agricultural collection sites in remote and marginalized communities, will help farmers and growers form and expand cooperatives, link to markets, and strengthen the supply chain. With this economic opportunity, producers can reinvest in their families, communities, and businesses.
First announced at the 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the EDGE Fund is the first-of-its-kind public-private partnership fund to drive collaborative solutions and leverage core business interests and operations that drive more inclusivity, resilience, and shared prosperity.
The EDGE Fund is part of an agency-wide initiative to modernize private sector engagement and enable USAID and the private sector to work together for more effective, efficient, and sustainable partnerships that address today’s global challenges.