Enabling sustainable agricultural production adapted to climate change
In Ecuador, 25% of the land is occupied by small and medium farmers, whose work is fundamental for agricultural value chains such as rice, potatoes, corn, onions, among others.
However, the levels of development of this segment of the agricultural population, as well as its capacity to contribute to the diversification of the productive matrix at the national level, are limited due to the reduced size of their lands, the lack of access to markets and the lack of knowledge to implement efficient water management techniques in agriculture.
Of the 338 thousand hectares with irrigation that belong to small and medium producers, 93% have traditional irrigation systems that are not very efficient and have limited water storage capacity.
"With LAIF funding we are improving the management of our natural resources taking into account climate change, and increasing our incomes".
"With this technified irrigation we are gaining production time and the most important thing is that we are not deteriorating the terrain" - Marcelo Guerrón, beneficiary of the PIT
The Modernized Irrigation Project for Small and Medium Farmers project is helping approximately 14 000 small and medium-sized farmers from coastal territories and mountain regions to gain access to modern irrigation systems, allowing them to improve water management and expand agricultural production.
The main goal of the project is to increase the incomes of small and medium-sized farmers by providing more efficient irrigation and climate-smart management of soil and water. In so doing, the project should help to reduce extreme poverty and increase shared prosperity by augmenting agricultural revenue and strengthening the resilience of Ecuador’s family farming sector, promoting diversification and higher agricultural production, and improving access to markets for smallholders and their organizations.
The project’s three core components cover:
- investments in irrigation systems and production techniques;
- training and technical assistance to handle these systems and techniques; and
- research, development and innovation to improve agricultural production systems, using agricultural and post-harvest practices that are beneficial for the environment and adapted to climate change.
The project is led by the Sub-secretariat for Productive Irrigation Plots of the Ecuadorian Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and receives technical assistance from the Spanish Cooperation Agency for its implementation.
This EU-LAIF contribution to the PIT, complements investments in technical irrigation systems for the Ecuadorian coast and highlands, and will contribute to the improvement of the agricultural income of almost 10,000 families of small producers, through two fundamental axes:
- the creation and implementation of a National School for Plot Irrigation (ENIP), and
- the implementation of five Showcase Territories that aim to demonstrate the viability and sustainability of small-scale peasant agriculture when it has the necessary resources for production.
The LAIF contribution is promoting investments that increase and diversify production, support the processing of products, and provide improved access to markets. As a result of this support, the return on investment will be significantly higher than for investments in irrigation systems alone. For example, LAIF considers investments in machinery and equipment for the production, conservation and storage of agricultural products, for transport, and for small agro-industrial businesses to process agricultural products.
Also, the LAIF contribution is providing added value in terms of innovation to improve agro-production systems by investing in productive aspects as well as processing and commercialization. Investments are being made for the preparation of land plots for trials to improve cultivation practices, including appropriate management of erosion and soil fertility. Furthermore, the use of bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, seeds and ancestral varieties is being promoted, as well as the creation of laboratories equipped for the recovery, conservation and improvement of seeds.
- The project is carried out in 17 provinces of the country, through 124 local subprojects in the coastal and mountain areas.
- 12,400 hectares are provided with an irrigation system.
- 14,150 families will benefit, many of them of mestizo, indigenous, Afro-Ecuadorian and mountain origin.