The SEED Initiative Support Channel

The SEED Initiative Support Channel

New Life: Reintroducing and commercializing native Andean agricultural crops

Ecuador: Riobamba, Cantón Colta

In the centre of the Ecuadorian Andes, New Life community associations of indigenous women have recovered thirty species of native cereal and tuber crops to combat food insecurity and their dependence on local markets. Previously, white onion was their sole source of income. The associations are self-managing the initiative and have established a savings system, organic farming practices and reafforestation activities. They are in the initial phases of commercialising their organic products from native crops, such as jams and chocolates made from mashua, melloco and oca.

New Life won one of five global 2007 SEED Awards for Entrepreneurship in Sustainable Development, for their work to diversify food production, improve local food security, prevent soil erosion, empower local communities (especially women), and generate additional incomes.

Scaling up New Life’s social, environmental and economic impacts

As part of the Award, SEED is supporting New Life to grow its pro-poor, organic business. The immediate aims are to expand production of native agricultural crops, incorporate other women associations in the project, successfully commercialise these species, create demand for native agricultural products produced in the indigenous communities of the Ecuadorean Andes, and develop the supply chain for added value products from these crops. They are aiming to reach the urban markets of Ecuador, and in the process to continue the transformation of their communities. Priorities that are being addressed by New Life and SEED are to:

  • reinforce organizational structures: organising and resourcing a co-ordination office for the partnership and agreeing staff terms of reference.
  • formalize partnership, set common goals and clarify roles: holding partner workshops to develop the business plan, identify common goals, clarify roles and responsibilities, agree project plans and set up a website.
  • strengthen strategic planning: market research, business plan support and marketing strategies for the products; develop a quality label.
  • technical assistance: with a focus on product diversification and scaling up production to meet future demands.

How you could help

These activities are intended to strengthen New Life’s potential for growth. However, to ensure the long-term future of this innovative, locally-led partnership for sustainable development, additional contacts, financing opportunities and communication and marketing networks are important. In particular, the following support is needed:

  • partners, funders and technical/infrastructure solutions for future product and value chain development
  • additional resources and support for the micro-enterprise start-up structures
  • expertise to promote the products and identify new markets at local level
  • gaining organic and sanitary certification
  • connecting the initiative with potential retailers, importers or distributors


The SEED Support Channel -

New Life – Mrs Teresa Pagalo Pagalo (preferably in Spanish)