Training and Education for the Cannabis industry in rural areas of Ecuador.
Cooperativa Ananda is a small agricultural cooperative located in Chimborazo province, Ecuador. It was the first non-profit organization in the country to ask for a commercial cannabis cultivation license. At the date, Cooperativa Ananda has 2 licenses: One for cannabis seeds and cloning production (license type 2) and a second one for 5 hectares of industrial Hemp. In cooperation with the Asociación de Productores de Guarango y Frutales, ASOPROGF, we have received a small donation from Embassy of Switzerland for equipment to the laboratory for seeds and cloning, and it is ready to start the production as soon as seeds arrive to Ecuador.
We define ourselves as The Ananda Ecosystem (o Community) which seeks to build Sustainable Communities resilient to climatic change and to the post-COVID crisis. These communities will be able to produce their own food, medicine and energy. The long term goal for the project is to include at least one person from every family of the community in the value chain of the Cannabis Industry.
To meet our vision, our first goal is to deconstruct the paradigms and stigma around the cannabis plant by educating and training the participating families in the history of Cannabis, its legalization, the relationship of cannabis with human rights, and in activism around cannabis and minorities.
The second goal is to assemble two teams to enhance the multidisciplinary toolbox of the Ananda Community.
1) The “Circular Economy Team” which will write projects for sustainable Cannabis cultivation, clean energies and plant based solutions.
2) The “Content Creation Team” will be in charge of spreading the projects and proposals from the community to the world.
The lack of job opportunities in the communities forces the young boys and girls to seek for opportunities in any kind of job in the nearby cities of Guano and Riobamba, mostly underpaid and overworked as domestic servants (mostly women), unskilled worker for construction (mostly men) or to join police, army or similar. Leaving the countryside to go after these kind of jobs leaves the community without people who can work the land, produce food and take care of the water and culture for future generations. It is important to provide a full and decent job for the young with technological innovations and high-value crops. Women and girls are especially important because they are the ones who stay in the community taking care of kids, land and crops. For the rural women, no matter how old they are, access to any kind of opportunities are harder than for men. The project aims to develop small business opportunities related to the ancillary cannabis industries: packaging, delivery, web programming, hydroponics, organic farming, food and edibles… and a lot more. Cooperativa Ananda had made a baseline diagnostic where every family in the partner organization stated a “dream” for themselves and will be fulfilled by the project. The ASOPROGF community is based in the rural area of Guano in the Chimborazo Province, known as the poorest region in Ecuador. Based on surveyed data, Cooperativa Ananda found that the main issue to be addressed is the difficulty they have to compete in the local and national market to have an adequate living income. This community has a primary sector economy and usually sells their products to intermediaries which does not allow them to control the selling price. Young people under 30 years of age do not find agriculture as a sustainable income which has promoted migration to urban areas for education, employment and better living conditions. We seek for at least, one person from each ASOPROGF family to be fully employed in the Cannabis industry or in related ancillary services. Training will be oriented to develop skills for entrepreneurship around the Cannabis industry.