NEXT Ecuador launched to help small farmers sell to EU

30 November 2022
ITC News

The 3.5-million-euro project will reach 900 producers of fruits like avocado, banana and dragon fruit to help them grow their sales to Europe

The four-year, 3.5-million-euro NEXT Ecuador project officially launched in November 2022, aiming to boost fruit exports to the European Union.

The EU-funded project will guide 20 small businesses in how to take advantage of Ecuador’s free trade agreement with the European Union. The total reach will extend to more than 900 family farmers who grow fruit like avocado, banana and dragon fruit – known in Ecuador as pitahaya.

“We support NEXT Ecuador to strengthen and increase the competitiveness of the country's productive sector,” said Charles-Michel Geurts, EU ambassador to Ecuador.

Photo by ITC

Micro, small and medium sized businesses and organizations of the Popular and Solidarity Economy – a government of Ecuador initiative that gathers more than 15,000 associative, community and cooperative organizations representing half a million members, mostly located in the country's poorest areas – generate almost 70% of Ecuador’s total employment.

“There is clearly an economic opportunity for Ecuador, considering its supply capacity throughout the year thanks to its privileged climate and its fertile soils,” said Ashish Shah, the director of country divisions at the International Trade Centre (ITC).

Implemented by ITC, NEXT Ecuador will work under principles of inclusion and sustainability and a strategy based on technical assistance, capacity building, innovation and technology transfer.