Local Production and Economic Development

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inter-american foundation
three men harvesting sugar cane in peru with a call to action to read more

Exporting panela in Peru: How sweet it is

At the IAF we support grassroots development organizations that strengthen the economic capacity of communities in Latin America and the Caribbean region. When we promote local production, we help improve the livelihoods of farmers and skilled workers. Often the benefits of a project expand to enhance the lives of families and community members in ways we don't anticipate. 

One example is what happened in northern Peru when we funded a proposal from Programa Integral para el Desarrollo del Café (PIDECAFE, now known as PROGRESO). The organization wanted to help local farmers diversify their sources of income by producing panela, or whole cane sugar. In addition to successfully increasing families' incomes, the project also:

  • empowered women
  • improved local diets
  • increased school enrollment for children
  • supported a new road with help from municipal authorities


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IAF Support for

Local Production and Economic Development

A man talks to a woman in front of green trees and plants

Encouraging farmers to stay and work together

Our grantee partner Asociación para el Desarrollo Campesino (ADC) works to improve the income of rural Colombians. By helping farmers network and gain access to government services, ADC encourages them to remain on their land rather than take up a hardscrabble existence of temporary work.

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woman puts finishing touch on clay pot

Putting handmade goods on tour

Paraguayan grantee partner Estación A–Nucleo Cultural (Estación A) collaborates with skilled workers to design and produce weavings from palm fiber called Ñanduti lace, pottery and woodcarvings. Estacion A uses art to engage young people in the economic and social development of their communities. 

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woman and man stand behind a produce stand with juice, fruit, nuts and berries

Building a fair trade market

In Ecuador, Movimiento de economía social y solidaria del Ecuador (MESSE) encourages the application of agroecological practices to develop the fair-trade market for produce. Their large network directly benefits 400 Ecuadorians. The nutritional value of diversified crops grown without chemical fertilizers reaches 4,000 family members and consumers.

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Spreading Passion for Organics

In a first-hand account of the 10th meeting of the Ecovida Agroecology Network in Brazil, this participant concludes: "Small farmers must be encouraged to adopt agricultural measures that do not poison the soil, families and, naturally, consumers." Read more>>