The development process in the Ecuadorian Amazon and the subsequent encroachment and loss of ancestral lands not only transformed the logic of hunter and gatherer societies, but also undermined the significance of the Rainforest as the sole provider of the basic needs of the communities. The fact is that today the semi-sedentary indigenous population require complementary monetary incomes to survive.
State and international organizations have attempted to address this situation by encouraging a transition to an agrarian based economy, introducing crops such as coffee, cocoa and African palm. This implied an acceleration in the deforestation of primary forests, as agricultural activities of this nature cannot thrive under the dense upper canopy. Furthermore, the sand and clay layers of Amazon soils, unsuitable for carrot root plants, have led to progressively diminishing harvests.
SVSF proposes a viable alternative. Studies and pilot projects encouragingly suggest that the Rainforest naturally provides specific plants which can be harvested without compromising the eco-system. Evidently this requires understanding and respecting the cycles determined by the laws of nature that govern the eco-system, respecting all forms of life that interact with the vegetation.
Within this context SVSF sponsors two major initiatives, that symbolize “The Essence of Sustainability”. The first is a Cofan Woman’s Cooperative, that weaves nature inspired designs from the mature leaves of the Chambira palm. The second is an Indigenous bamboo cooperative that transforms the full-grown short cycle guadua bamboo into marketable commodities.
The final objective of both initiatives is to generate an alternative source of income to satisfy basic needs by producing and marketing 100% guaranteed sustainable commodities which, simultaneously, create economic incentives for environment preservation. SVSF provides the technical assistance required and ensures, congruent with institutional policy, that all profits benefit the Amazon communities.