Catch As Quechua Can
Until recently, there were only two roads out of poverty for Ecuador’s Quechua people: cutting down the rainforest (thereby destroying habitat and soil fertility alike) or trading with warring factions in neighboring Colombia (thereby opening the door for that country’s violence to spread into Ecuador). Now there is a third, far better option: the Callari project, a marketing cooperative for indigenous Ecuadorians. Since its founding two years ago by Judy Logback, an environmentalist from Kansas, the cooperative has helped 1,000 native people increase their incomes by 30 percent through improving the quality of the cocoa and coffee they grow, relearning indigenous methods for extracting useful items from the jungle, and marketing their products abroad. The editor of Ecuador’s national newspaper, Hoy, has hailed the project as a new economic model for the Amazon. Logback hopes to see the project expand: “I figure, if Coca-Cola can spread to the ends of the earth, so can Callari.”
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