average increase in productivity for farmers in the PCTA program
Leveraging the potential of small-scale agriculture
Against the backdrop of soaring population growth and widespread malnutrition in low-income countries, investing in smallholder farmers will be critical to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030.
In Ecuador, FAF client Jardin Azuayo has emerged as a leader in promoting inclusive rural development. Part of Ecuador’s “Popular and Solidarity Economy”, Jardin Azuayo specifically targets rural, low-income communities traditionally excluded by other financial institutions as being too difficult or too costly to reach. Seventy-five percent of the organization’s 200,000 clients live in rural areas.
“Incofin’s support has been fundamental not only to the Cooperative’s financial management, but also in building skills of producers to farm in a more productive and environmentally sustainable way, which contributes to improving the quality of life for smallholders.”
Hands-on technical assistance
Supporting Jardin Azuayo’s mission to combat rural poverty, the Fairtrade Access Fund has provided a long-term loan along with advisory services to scale up the organization’s Productive Credit and Technical Assistance (PCTA) program, allowing Jardin Azuayo to reach farmers in 15 particularly underserved counties of Southern Ecuador with much-needed financial services and technical trainings.
Through the PCTA program, Jardin Azuayo works with each smallholder farmer to design a tailored investment plan for his or her farm – in order to renovate infrastructure, invest in better natural resource management, or to purchase land and other agricultural inputs. The organization then provides a loan to finance the project and hands-on technical assistance to help make it a reality.
For example, in the remote community of Taday, Jardin Azuayo’s field team is working with local farmers to revitalize pastures using natural fertilizers and providing training on animal safety. These producers will then receive loans that will allow them to purchase dairy cows, providing both a new source of income and more reliable access to nutritious food.
The PCTA program supports producers in two types of value chains –
Products for local consumption, such as cattle, poultry, fruits, vegetables and grains, promoting health and food security of local families, both urban and rural.
Products for export, such as bananas, cocoa and coffee, diversifying and increasing incomes for smallholder farmers while satisfying growing international demand.
By standing in solidarity with smallholders, Jardin Azuayo is not only helping to transform rural communities, but has also maintained its own strong financial performance and portfolio quality. The innovative PCTA model paves the way for other financial institutions to support the agricultural sector in a way that makes business sense.
With FAF’s support, the nearly 2,000 producers that Jardin Azuayo has reached with credit and customized technical assistance have experienced a 13% average increase in their incomes.
 The Popular and Solidarity Economy is an initiative promoted by the Ecuadorian government to encourage socioeconomic development based on tenants of cooperation, community and reciprocity [http://base.socioeco.org/docs/minca_ecuador.pdf]