We all remember our first car. We also remember the saving and sacrifice it took for that investment, and make our dream a reality. In Ecuador a farmer organization was able to purchase their first truck and make their dreams a reality with the assistance of WFP. Through a WFP programme the farmer organization was able to learn how to economize and save 10 per cent of the profits from their sales. As proof they sent me a photo. This is their story.
QUITO --“We have already paid for the license plate and the insurance, and we just made an instalment on our truck”, says an excited and proud Florencio Castillo, “It’s a beautiful truck! He continued. As president of the la Asociación de Trabajadores Agrícolas de Manglaralto (ATAM), Florencio is proud that the organization was able to fulfil a long term dream of having their own vehicle.
With the truck, ATAM an organization of nearly 100 members will be able to transport food to smallholder farmer associates that provide the food that vulnerable families acquire using WFP e-vouchers. Fruits and vegetables are to be transported along the roads of Manglaralto in the solid wooden crate of the truck. The deliveries will be made to remote communities of Santa Elena where WFP and the provincial government assist vulnerable families. As a result, the food arrives on time, and there is no need to rent a vehicle. And most importantly participants of the “Strengthening local capacity of food and nutritional security” project (vulnerable families with young children) will be fed with fresh and locally produced crops.
“The truck was a necessity”, said Florencio. “We had never done any official accounting work. With the assistance of WFP we now know how.” With the profits obtained from sales through WFP’s programme, ATAM was able to seriously consider purchasing a vehicle, before it was just a dream. “With what we had left, the 10 per cent, a small portion of our profits from yields sold to farmer that were not members of the ATAM organization, we were able to use this money towards the down payment for the truck”, said our interviewee.
The truck is a unifying element and an asset that suggests future growth
The truck does not only serve as transportation; it is a unifying element and an asset that suggests future growth. Since farms are owned individually by each farmer, the truck is now the principal asset that the association has, and serves as a symbol of solidarity. “Together we decided: If we need money for production costs, we will ask for a loan and pledge the truck as collateral” said Florencio firmly. He continued to explain that ATAM is drafting regulations and guidelines for the use of the vehicle.
Where does ATAM keep the truck when it is not being used to deliver produce? "For now, there is a farmer who has a large farm with trees, where the truck is parked –tells Florencio—but the plan is to keep it at the storage centre. We will make a shed there”. In the warm coastal province of Santa Elena, which suffers from periodic droughts, the shed will provide needed protection from the sun. This is an investment that must be protected. “Without WFP, this would not have been possible. Many now congratulate us. We are appreciative of WFP; we will send them a letter.”