Trip to Ecuador for SIDI shareholders

Here’s a testimonial from one of them with Alicia, a farmer and customer of Banco Codesarrollo, the Ecuadorian social and popular economy bank in which Sidi has been a shareholder since 2016.

Meeting in Ecuador – by Nathalie Verhulst, SIDI shareholder

Experiencing solidarity and ecological development

In Ecuador, as elsewhere, social and climate issues are linked. The experience of Alicia, a farmer in the sierra in the north of the country, shows us how solidarity and the desire to develop a sustainable economic system can bear fruit on a territorial scale.

Alicia is the manager of “Rayon de soleil”, a SIPAS (Système familial Intégré de Production Agricole Soutenable) farm, i.e. a one-hectare, self-sufficient farm that takes into account climate change issues through the rational use of resources and plantations that prevent runoff and maintain humidity. She is president of her village community “San Petro alto”. As well as being self-sufficient, each farm in the community markets different processed products – cakes, cheese, roast guinea pigs, etc. – to avoid competition between farms.

Leader in agro-ecology

Alicia and her husband were able to transform their farm into a “SIPAS” thanks to micro-credit provided by Banco Codesarrollo and technical support from the FEPP (Fonds Equatorien Popularum Progressio) social group.

The ecological stakes of “SIPAS” are very high in Alicia’s home province of Imbabura, a highly fertile region in northern Ecuador where intensive potato cultivation leads to erosion and pollution.

The village community thus became aware of the role of the primary forest, and stopped clearing it. It has even started to reforest, which helps to limit the effects of wind on farms.

Funder, FEPP’s educational foundation, trains villagers in the “SIPAS” model. In addition to reforestation, Alicia and her family have started using biogas from the farm’s waste processing instead of wood for heating and cooking. The waste is also used for compost and animal feed. Water management – reservoirs, drip irrigation – guarantees the rational use of spring water and rainwater.

Village of solidarity

In addition to non-competition, each farm contributes to a common fund which helps to deal with individual difficulties – illness, claims, etc. – within the community.

The “Rayon de soleil” farm is a training ground for other farmers in the village, who come to learn about new techniques for self-sufficiency and sustainable production.

Banco Codesarrollo and Funder are two FEPP tools whose motto is “Better love, happiness and peace”. Alicia illustrates this with a big smile when asked what her project has changed for her: “It’s changed everything. We’re doing well economically. We’re showing the way to our neighbors and friends. For example, we all have passionflowers, but only ours produced fruit. Our neighbors have been able to copy our technique.