The basic fair trade count in Ecuador: David versus Goliath
A recurring invisibility has marked the trajectory of export fair trade in the country. Policies and actions have always supported the productions of capital companies. This concealment was only revealed in 2010, which is evidenced by the enactment of statistics on external sales of fair trade (Mason Sc Tapia, 2005).
Making its way into the status quo showed that the expertise to enter the world of global marketing is not only reserved for large national and transnational corporations. In fact, the business intelligence and skills can assimilate people without the levels of education currently required, attending training and continuing popular education (Cunningham, 2005). Almost without exception, the initiators and leaders of Ecuadorian fair trade and even some still today have presented as a common denominator the non-obtaining of titles of third, fourth or fifth level of education. It means college, university, master or PhD degrees.
Fair trade exports have no privilege or special preferences such as those offered to capitalist corporate exporters. Periodically, the State has provided its logistical and financial support for capitalist entrepreneurs to attend fairs and events of any kind, as well as free sample shipments and finally the organization of commercial offices in certain cities of countries of commercial interest. They created tax exemption instruments,
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credit lines, university education at their service, infrastructure and so on. However, for fair trade, there have been no such perks.
Faced with this unequal structure, fair trade organizations were making their way with the support already indicated by the Catholic Church, external non-governmental organizations and the strong will of these groups of small producers empowered by this way of life and imbued to say enough to the exploitation that was made in the pricing and weighing of products. The list of pioneer names is long; however, we will mention Padre Graziano Mazôn, Rubén Tapia, Padre Polo, José Tonello, Vargas family, Rosa Guamân. Also, the emblematic organizations such as Grupo Salinas, Fondo Ecuatoriano Popularum Progressio (Camari), Maquita Cushunchic (MCCH), Sinchi Sacha, Jambi Kiwa, FAPECAFES, Asoguabo and so on. Each one has a history full of vicissitudes with falls, but with triumphs they managed to position this alternative marketing as a Latin American example.
Its recognition was considered for Quito to be designated as the headquarters of the Latin American Community Marketing Network, RELACC, which joins 12 national networks of the region corresponding to Central America, Mercosur and the Andean area. This network began its construction in 1991 and was completed after several meetings in 2001 under the approval of Ecuadorian laws as a private law corporation for social and non-profit purposes and in addition without political or religious affiliations.
The learnings of two Ecuadorian fair trade organizations with certifications: Fair Trade Consortium and Ecuadorian Fair Trade Coordinator
Two international organizations push the consolidation of fair trade in Ecuador. FAIRTRADE (FAIRTRADE, 2017) is linked to the Fair Trade Consortium, while the Latin American and Caribbean Coordinator of Small Fair Trade Producers (CLAC) cooperates with the CECJ. Since the 1970, this activity has been pushed.
The Fair Trade Consortium is a member of the WFTO formed by seven important organizations, namely, Fondo Ecuatoriano Populorum Progressio (Camari), Fundacion Chankuap, Gruppo Salinas, Maquita Cushunchic (MCCH), Fundaciôn Sinchi Sacha, Red de Turismo Comunitario Pakarinan y Corporation de Ferias de Loja. The CECJ brings together FAPECAFES, Jambi Kiwa, KOPROBICH, UROCAL, FECAFEM, ASOGUABO, UNOCACE, FOMSOEAN, Cerro Azul Association and Fortalezas del Valle. These consolidated networks have become the force to boost the intensification of the concept and its characteristics of the national and global Fair Trade movement.
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Of the US $ 112 million reported from fair trade exports to 2016, according to PROECUADOR, a representative portion belongs to the organizations of these two networks. The first organization that worked since the 1970s with an idea of justice for producers was the Salinas Group in Guaranda, developing and commercializing a great diversity of products and sendees in a community way. Following the motivation of the Ecuadorian Populorum Progressio Fund (FEPP), in 1981 Camari was born as a solidarity marketer with the mission of promoting the development of communities.
In 1985, Maquita Cushunchic Marketing as Brothers (MCCH) was born, as a direct bridge between rural producers and producers with urban consumers, linked to the Ecclesial Base Communities, first in the south of Quito and then in other cities of the country. Since 1990, other marketing experiences have emerged, such as Sinchi Sacha closely linked to trade and cultural identity issues and Chankuap with a commendable social impact in the Amazon.
All the aforementioned organizations are certified as Fair Trade organizations by the WFTO collective feature that since 2011 prompted them to promote the Ecuadorian Consortium of Solidarity Economy and Fair Trade of Ecuador as a public advocacy space, promotion of fair trade and responsible consumption.
In 2003, the Ecuadorian Fair Trade Coordinator (CECJ) was founded and legalized in 2010 as a National Union of Small Farmers Associations Certified in Fair Trade from Ecuador that groups 11 organizations certified with FLO Seal with a total of 11,138 members and partners who work in the areas of cocoa, coffee, bananas, cereals, aromatic and jams in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabi, Los Rios, El Oro, Chimborazo, Loja, Sucumbi'os and Zamora Chinchipe. It is aligned with the objectives and principles of the CLAC to ensure that its organization, production and marketing practices comply with Fair Trade standards. They have developed the SPP Guarantee Seal (Seal of the Small Producer) widespread in the Continent.
Currently, this national movement has been joined by entrepreneurs and various organizations of producers with a variety of products and services aimed at local and international markets with a social and economic impact. It has meant that Fair Trade and Economy Popular and Solidarity in Ecuador contribute positively to the economic development of the country.
Analyzing the current Ecuadorian fair trade system from the work deployed by the Fair Trade Consortium of Ecuador and the CECJ, we can see models of solidarity companies with significant advances, but also with gaps to establish radically creative and timely corrective measures. Thus, in the area of production and services, producers must develop new lines with innovative products without losing the essence of fair trade, since consumer preferences are changing by age and status and especially to meet the needs of the consumers. The quality, presentation and promotion of the product is a challenge of continuous improvement.
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