Public Policy for AE

Lead Organization:

Institute of Ecuadorian Studies (IEE)

Partner Organizations:

Institute of Economic Research of the Central University (IIE); Indigenous peasant organizations CONAIE, FENOCIN, and CNC; Universidad Amawtay Wasi; Agroecology Collective; Secretariat of Peasant Family Farming; FENOCIN; CNC; CONAIE; NGOs AVSF and SWISSAID; CoPs

At territorial level: (in Tungurahua) Indigenous Movement of Tungurahua, PACT, producer associations, and Salasaca people, and (in Pichincha) Kayambi people and Fenocin

Council of Agroecological Producers’ Organizations, provincial governments and municipalities, and agroecological development teams in Tungurahua and Cayambe

Community of Practice:







Agroecology (AE) in Ecuador has become a powerful and growing political proposal. Until the early 2000s, AE appeared as a technological proposal to improve or transform production limits established by the Green Revolution. With the 2008 constitution, together with Food Sovereignty (art. 281), the prohibition of large estates, food as a right, the rights of nature, the priority of water, and other advances, AE became an important part of the political agenda of Indigenous and peasant organizations. The constitution marked a new moment for the movement, making visible the need to strengthen public advocacy to ensure that constitutional advances are fulfilled. 

Today, there are many criticisms about the effects of constitutional advances on the countryside. Different governments have prioritized their budgets and public policies to favor agro-exports and -industry to the detriment of peasant family farming. Pressure from the organizations was maintained, and governments, especially municipal, have tried “agroecological” projects or those favoring peasant family agriculture (AFC): education and training programs, AFC seals, short product marketing circuits, public purchases, agroecological fairs, baskets, and dissemination programs, among others. However, the response of local governments and the central government is insufficient.

Despite enormous territorial experience, there are difficulties in getting AE to scale up and be translated into national policies. Recently, following the Indigenous peasant mobilization of June 2022, pressure from organizations forced the national government to open a dialogue to promote policies in favor of small producers focusing on food sovereignty and AE. The talks lasted six months without progress.

The Indigenous peasant mobilization opened up a powerful juncture, but the organizations lacked a clear strategy for scaling up. Several studies discuss scaling-up strategies or the role of public policies in the vertical and horizontal scaling up of AE but they are not enough.

Grant Aims:

The overall goal is to determine, for public debate and policy advocacy, what factors or services small producers, peasant families, and agroecological producers need to improve their conditions and grow. 

Specifically, the project aims to address the questions:

  • What are the characteristics of technical assistance, training, technological development, credit, or markets that agroecological producers need to develop their model? What experiences nourish it?   
  • How can proponents explain what the state and society gain from the promotion of AE?
  • What are the social, environmental, and economic costs and returns of state investments in AE?
  • Why is public policy central to the promotion and scaling up of AE?

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Dialogue and dissemination of proposal with actors of interest for the study
  • Organization of team and research protocols (timetable, responsibilities, work strategy, code of ethics, advocacy strategy)
  • Beginning analysis and reading of existing bibliography on subject and on experience and central theme bringing actors together; role of public policy in strengthening and expansion of AE in Ecuador and Andean zone; and experiences
  • Construction of preliminary hypotheses to explore experience, interview actors, visit producers, and convene members of learning community; promotion of a collaborative space
  • Fieldwork based on interviews with involved actors, in particular those responsible for departments in provincial council and municipalities, to understand institutional routes and designs and most important representatives of producers’ organizations with intention of understanding their assessments
  • Development and application of survey allowing for characterization of farms, transition costs,and public policy; a model to quantify costs of public policy and actions that considers intervention of external actors, on-farm investment of producers, and current and ongoing investment of provincial government and municipalities
  • Analysis of interviews, surveys, and data for discussion, hypothesis testing, and tool building (characterizing policies, institutional arrangements, and costs; effects of policies and actions on producers; farm transition processes and their needs, analysis, and replicability)
  • Feedback and dissemination (workshops or focus groups), public debate on research results with heads of provincial councils and municipalities, producer organizations, and Agroecology Collective; evaluation of output materials: report, book, booklets, and videos
  • Assessment of continuity of line of studies on public policy and AE