The COVID 19 pandemic was a challenge for families living in the San Pablo de Ushpayacu Community, which is thirty minutes from the city of Tena. They get their livelihood from the sale of food. Faced with the crisis, unable to go out and sell their products to the market and receive bad payments from intermediaries, they decided to join and start a new way of selling what they have in their chakras (orchards). Their food is agroecological and wrapped in biodegradable materials. The fruits, vegetables and medicinal plants are wrapped in bijao leaves so that they are preserved and stored in ashangas, baskets made by hand by weavers with natural lisán fiber. In these baskets they place sixteen products that are delivered by the different families.

With their venture they seek to generate direct sales with the different cities, earn more for their products and, in this way, improve the quality of life of all the people who produce and have associated themselves for this project. At the same time, this allowed them to continue maintaining their territories planted in polycultures. The importance of their ashangas is that they provide cities with a quality and healthy product.

The sale of Amazonian ashangas has been growing by leaps and bounds. Because of this, the artisan way in which they organized the final product was no longer enough. Thanks to the support of the parish GAD and other organizations, on Friday, August 27, they shared with the general public the construction of the collection center, a work that they hope will be completed in four months.
For Wilfrido Villagómez, governor of the Napo province, this project is of great importance because it helps them create other ways of living that are not related to the extraction of non-renewable resources. For him, this project means that the community “has better opportunities to live, especially for those who work in the chakras.”

Teresa Mamallacta, coordinator of the Inti Association, a community institution from which the Amazonian ashangas are made, comments that they won a contest from the Technical Secretariat of the Amazonian Special Territorial Circumscription (CTEA) and the Parish GAD. This has helped them to invest in a new collection center. For them, this is an advance to be able to sell their products in the country and export. “This will give us added value to our products. Intermediaries steal from us. That is why we have formed this association to work together and give education to our children. For them, the pandemic has been very hard, the mothers have been at home, they have not been able to sell at the free fair ”. His plan is to buy the women the food for their chakras and sell these products in different cities of the country and abroad.
Currently, food is collected in various houses, it is their private spaces that are used to make the ashangas. The collection center will allow them to improve their organization and collection of products. In December 2020 it was its first direct sale to the city of Quito. For the community this gave them hope because it is a different way of marketing their food. This project is developed with the support of 30 families, who are the ones that work together to sell Amazonian ashangas.

For the president of the Parish Government of San Pablo de Ushpayacu, Silverio Mamallacta, the construction of the collection center has arisen from the identification of this need. The support provided seeks to strengthen its production process. He asserts that with this support “we give people an alternative. They need to give an added value, the transformation of the raw material.

A product ready for consumption. Support so that it is found on national and international hangers ”. The project has been elaborated within the technical norms. With this project they seek that entrepreneurs have quality infrastructure so that they can sell their products.
To continue with this plan, the president affirms that, in the future, they will need technicians and personnel to train the community in the management of their collection center. For this reason, he invites the various entities that exist to generate agreements that allow families in the community to continue on the path of entrepreneurship and improve their product every day.

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