Global Programs

To close out National Volunteer Week, our first Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer arrives in Ecuador

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Augusto Salazar, Waylla Kuri’s founder and current president, translates from Spanish to Kichwa during the coffee harvest and post-harvest management training.

Located in the country’s northeast, the Ecuadorian Amazon boasts incredible biodiversity and cultural richness. This vast rainforest, home to a surprising array of plant and animal species, also plays a crucial role in the global coffee supply chain. Its unique soil and climate conditions create ideal growing conditions for Robusta coffee. The cultivation of Robusta coffee accounts for around 30 percent of the global coffee production, making it the second most popular coffee variety.  

Coffee cultivation in the Ecuadorian Amazon provides a livelihood for local communities, including the indigenous Kichwa, Shuar, Waorani and Achuar people, among others. It also contributes to the conservation of the Amazon ecosystem as it is cultivated mainly under agroforestry and chakra systems. Chakra is a Kichwa term that describes a traditional sustainable agroecological production method.

The Waylla Kuri Rukullakta Agricultural Production Association (ASOPROAKURI) grows Robusta coffee to pursue a harmonious relationship with the environment and farmers’ livelihoods.  Waylla Kuri, which means “green gold” in the Kichwa language, was founded in 2015 by Augusto Salazar, a passionate coffee producer who dreamed of transforming the lives of his community through fair trade and sustainable coffee production.  

ASOPROAKURI has benefitted from NCBA CLUSA’s U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)-funded Farmer-to-Farmer (F2F) program since 2020. The association has worked with F2F to strengthen its leadership, by-laws, organizational structure, use of biofertilizers, coffee post-harvest handling and social media marketing. As a result, the association has grown from 16 to 31 members since 2021, improved their social media presence and product display, and developed better biofertilizer recipes to increase productivity. To continue their journey and better support their members, ASOPROAKURI has been eagerly awaiting their next F2F assignment just in time to close out National Volunteer Week, celebrated from April 21-27. 

Daniel Lavin (center) with NCBA CLUSA’s Farmer-to-Farmer team in Ecuador.

Daniel Lavin has completed seven assignments ranging from financial literacy and accounting to strategic planning and entrepreneurship with NCBA CLUSA, and nine with other F2F implementers. From Latin America to Africa, he passes on his enthusiasm and passion through these assignments. Dan’s next assignment is with ASOPROAKURI, marking NCBA CLUSA’s first F2F volunteer in Ecuador under our new round of funding. For the next two weeks, he’ll be working alongside the coffee producers, helping the association navigate its growth and expansion. He will be acting as part teacher, part strategic advisortraining a new accountant and working with producers to better understand their finances. This knowledge will allow them to make smarter business decisions, increase sales and secure a brighter future for their communities.

“As a tourist, you see the world through jaded glasses and are served out of obligation,” Dan said. “As a volunteer with Farmer-to-Farmer, you partner with local field coordinators and host organizations to solve a challenge they identify and prioritize. You form a team, a family, and make a difference with people that appreciate it the most.”

The Farmer-to-Farmer program connects skilled volunteers like Dan with producer organizations around the world. NCBA CLUSA is preparing for 40 new F2F assignments on brand policy creation, organic fertilizers, organizational strengthening, business management, chocolate making, gender equity, coffee harvest and post-harvest management, among others in Ecuador, Peru, Honduras and El Salvador between April and September 2024.

Guess what? You could be our next volunteer!  

Don’t miss your chance to make a difference. Email your resume and experience to volunteer@ncba.coop. We can’t wait to review your application and welcome you to the F2F team! 

“As a volunteer with Farmer-to-Farmer … you form a team, a family, and make a difference with people that appreciate it the most.” – Daniel Lavin

 

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