Andean Agave Spirit



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Aliados partners with the Mishkita association and Andean Spirits in the creation of an Andean agave spirit made from this incredible plant. Andean agave (agave americana) grows wild in the Ecuadorian highlands and is known to have over 120 traditional uses. As they’ve done for generations, the Mishkita indigenous women's association in Cayambe produce chawar mishky, a sweet sap harvested from the agave once it reaches 12 years of age. Andean Spirits purchases the sap from the association at fair trade prices and markets an award winning liquor internationally. Aliados works closely on this value chain helping Mishkita strengthen their organizational capacity, as well as strenthening sustainable agave agoecology. Mishkita now have the only Andean agave nursery in Ecuador that provides plants for agave reforestation. Aliados is also responsible for the project’s monitoring, evaluation and learning component (MELA), helping the actors in this new value chain learn how to best work together.

What We’ve Accomplished So Far:

  1. Over the last six months the project has generated $10,000 in additional income for the women’s association

  2. A fair trade social premium established

  3. Reforesting of 1,200 agave seedlings in 2018.

  4. Formation of a committed indigenous women’s cooperative.

  5. Partnership building between Mishkita women’s association and Andean Spirits. 

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Ally Guayusa: Organic Guayusa Tea



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Aliados is working with Ally Guayusa, an indigenous-owned guayusa export association with the goal to maximize benefits to farmers from the guayusa supply chain. Aliados supports this ground-breaking community enterprise build management and governance capacity, finance infrastructure costs, certify agroforestry systems (organic and kosher) and with international marketing. The association’s farmers are committed to the association’s business strategy, producing organic guayusa that complies with international specifications. Ally Guayusa is creating local jobs, provides direct benefits for farmers without destroying the forest, and exemplifies the power of best practice business innovation for sustainability in the Amazon.

What We’ve Accomplished So Far:

  1. 40 hectares of guayusa under organic production

  2. State of the art processing facility with 800 kg p/month production capacity

  3. Sustainable income generating activities for 140 farming families

  4. In 2019, the company is projected to generate $80,000 of additional revenue. Meanwhile, ten-year projections estimate over $1 million in profit.

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Kara Solar



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Aliados is working with Fundacion Kara Solar and The Achuar Nation of Ecuador (NAE) to create a solar river canoe project that promises to transform the future of transport in the amazon basin. For hundreds of years, the Achuar people have lived on both sides of the Ecuador-Peru border along the Pastaza and Capahuari Rivers. With oil exploration threatening their ancestral lands, they needed to create opportunities that didn’t involve degradation and deforestation driven by road expansion. 

That need spurred Kara Solar - the first system of solar-powered canoes in the Amazon that currently serve nine Achuar communities. The system of canoes is being connected to a land-based solar grid system that provides sustainable energy not only to charge the canoes, but also to power information and communication systems, refrigeration, and support local processing. Aliados is partnering with Kara Solar to convert the solar infrastructure into a viable business, and so represent the future of transportation in the amazon basin.

What Kara Solar Has Accomplished So Far:

  1. Built the first community owned and operated enterprise of solar-powered boats in the Amazon.

  2. Improved connection among nine Achuar communities of 2,000 people

  3. Reduced the need for road construction and deforestation on over 150,000 hectares of pristine rainforest.

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Aliados is working with farmers and farmer associations in the megadiverse buffer zones of the Napo-Galeras and Llanganates National Park to restore native forests and increase wildlife habitat connectivity. This region is home to emblematic species such as jaguar, white lipped peccary, tapir, ocelot, and the spectacled bear. Our reforestation program integrates native tree planting with short-cycle agricultural production as a way to balance farmers’ immediate financial needs with ecosystem health. This is enabled by a rotating credit system that supports farmers establish a variety of native Amazonian tree species, intercropped with short-term cash crops, such as plantain or corn, which are marketed by farmer associations.

What We’ve Accomplished So Far:

  1. More than 30,000 seedlings from 20 different native species have been planted.

  2. Increased habitat connectivity for large mammals and birds over a region of 300 square kilometers in the megadiverse buffer region of the Llanganates nature reserve. 

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Jungle Peanuts



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Muru inchi is a aflatoxin-free variety of peanut grown in the Ecuadorian amazon that has beautiful purple stripes, and a delicious slightly sweet flavor. Peanuts give back to the agroforestry system by helping to free up nitrogen in the soil for surrounding plants.

Aliados’ work with muru inchi began with re-introduction of the peanut alongside an indigenous women’s group in a single community in 2016, and has now expanded to 4 neighboring communities. Aliados is currently partnering with Tsatsayacu association to increase production and convert muru inchi into a sustainable revenue source for participating farmers that strengthens conservation of the forest.

What We’ve Accomplished So Far and Our Goals:

1.  Muru inchi re-introduced as an agroforestry crop in four communities

2. Muru inchi re-incorporated into the local diets of four communities

3.  By 2020, Aliados aims to support 300 farming families producing 100,000 pounds of peanuts annually

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Natural Colorants



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Achiote, also known as annatto, is a tree native to South America that has been used as a natural colorant since pre-Columbian times. Achiote grows well on degraded pastureland, with high potential to increase farmer income and ecosystem resilience overall. To create new opportunities for farmers, we are working with achiote distributors in the multibillion dollar natural colorants market to connect them to local farmers. In 2018, Aliados laid the groundwork with a global leader in the achiote supply chain, to establish a 30-hectare pilot with smallholder farmers in the Ecuadorian amazon.

Our Goals With Achiote:

  1. By 2021, our joint venture aims to export 300 tons p/year of sustainably produced dried achiote product.

  2. Introduce two new agroforestry crops to grow alongside achiote production systems.

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Wild Cinnamon



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Ishpingo (Ocotea quixosis) is a variety of Amazonian cinnamon with high anti-radical and anti-pathogen properties, that has never reached the market. Its leaves have high concentrations of cinnamaldehyde attractive either as a tea or an essential oil. Similar to guayusa, ishpingo is a small tree that thrives in biodiverse agroforestry systems, and is commonly found in indigenous forest gardens.

Our Goals With Ishpingo:

  1. Aliados is working with Tsatsayacu to replicate the success of RUNA with guayusa, setting up the first-ever organic, fair trade ishpingo supply chain.

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