Since 2004, Andean Naturals has been building a partnership with the quinoa farmers of the Altiplano. The farmers seek to improve their living conditions -- many homes lack electricity and running water -- and to provide better education for their children. They also want to protect their natural environment and preserve their ancient culture. We help them to achieve efficient, organic cultivation and provide access to prime markets that pay higher (Fair Trade) prices for their quinoa.
Communication drives our process. This communication goes both ways. We regularly travel to visit the quinoa fields and farmers. We bring with U.S. clients, photographers and field experts. We also assist quinoa farmers to travel to clients’ factories, industry tradeshows and even quinoa fields in North America. These exchanges are geared to make sure that the smallholder farmers are aware of the market’s needs and can supplement their ancestral knowledge and technologies with adapted equipment and modern technology… all in order to compete in a globalized market against the large-scale private growers.
Currently we work directly with 21 farmers’ associations and nearly 700 organic-producing families. Together, these groups are responsible for 10,130 hectares (over 25,000 acres) of quinoa production, of which 50 percent is actively under cultivation while the balance lies fallow to regain fertility. We maintain indirect relationships with a further 4,000 farm families.
The Andean Naturals/JISA Supplier-Development program in the southern Altiplano has three main components:
Environmental- We are absolutely committed to organic production and ensure that farmers plant only biodiverse heirloom seeds and raise them free of chemicals or GMOs. Our team of three agronomists provides guidance in organic fertilization, irrigation and other techniques to improve soil health and crop yields.
Social- We support farmers’ associations in developing strong governance structures and achieving Fair Trade certification. Fair Trade prices include a premium which farmers invest in their communities for social, educational and health projects.
Financial- We provide consulting services to help communities develop financial management skills including basic accounting and administrative practices. The farmers are enabled to make informed business decisions, access credit and grow their enterprises.
Andean Naturals operates these initiatives in collaboration respectively from the Kellogg Company (Soil Health Program), Fair Trade USA (Farmer Association Structures, Women’s Empowerment and Fair Trade certification) and Root Capital (Financial Literacy Program and access to credit).