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Permaculture farm project near Quevedo, Ecuador  RSS feed

 
Paul Brass
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Hi there permies, this is my first post on this forum, which I've been browsing and reading for quite a while though.
I'm currently visiting Quevedo, Ecuador to evaluate the possibility to move here and set a permaculture farm.
My wife has about 10 acres of land south of town, currently "jungly", unused and unmanaged (for at least 15 years). I think it's perfect because there's natural mulch on the soil, humus, organic matter from cacao trees, etc. So soil fertility might not be a problem. There are a couple of small creeks nearby, so I contemplate to build ponds for irrigation and aquaculture, Keyline style.
Thing is all around the area there's "modern agri-business oriented agriculture", using glyphosates, chemical weed burners, chemical fertilizers and so on. Produce from the neighboring farms is mainly bananas, oranges, cacao, rice and corn.
I wonder how to make this project of mine work on this place, and make it economically sound in the long run. Right now I'm working on LPG engineering projects, so I'll have to gradually switch my career. My wife and I are South American ourselves (she's Ecuadorian and I'm Chilean) so there will be almost no "cultural shock".
I encourage all of you who are already "permaculturally established" or in the process of doing so to share your ideas and thoughts. Tropical hugelkultur mounds? Biodynamic? Selling organic produce? Species to plant? Cob building? You name it!
Cheers!
P.
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Paul,

My wife is from Guayaquil. Ecuador is a beautiful country. I used to go through Quevedo on the bus from Quito to Guayaquil (27 years ago). I was quite impressed with the city. I watched a program on ECTV online ("Donde Yo Vivo", no longer produced) that showcased a farm in your area that was shifting to non-traditional crops and ecotourism. I think you may find that many farmers are diversifying and looking at organic certifications for marketing their crops. There are some permaculturists in Quito and the surrounding area, I am not aware of any en la Costa, but I am sure there are some. Ask at the local agricultural college. The Ministry of Agriculture may also have some information available. I have found there to be a high level of innovation in Ecuadorian agriculture, though not always widespread.

Perhaps you can convert your LPG skills to biofuels? Lots of ag waste in Los Rios and with the elimination of the subsidy on cooking gas in 2016, there will be an increase in demand for alternative fuels. Besides, its always easier to be a farmer when you have another source of income.

Make sure you know what the flooding history is for your land. If the neighboring houses are on stilts, you may want to plan accordingly.

If you have both been away from your countries for some years, it is sometimes harder to (re)acculturate than for an extranjero. If your wife still has close family in the area, it will be a lot easier. We have often thought about moving there, over the years. Maybe someday.

Buenas suerte!
 
Paul Brass
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Hi Andrew, I contacted Rio Muchacho Farm a few days ago (http://riomuchacho.com/), they are located near Bahía de Caráquez and they offer farm tours, I may just go and check it out! I still have a few days left in Ecuador. I'll contact the Ministry of Agriculture for info.
Some time ago I learned about Syngas (SNG, which can be produced from biomass) it can be used on modified diesel engines and such. Here in Ecuador I found out too that some gas stations sell "Ecopais" ethanol fuel derived from sugarcane!
Almost all homes on and around the farm are built on stilts, so I'll bear that in mind.
You are right, I've found Ecuador's sierra and costa very beautiful so far, Quevedo is a small city ag oriented city (I can easily walk from my wife's family home to the city's commercial district). So far I'm very comfortable living here!

Saludos,
P
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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Paul,

I found this lead: http://www.permacultureglobal.com/users/6940-markos-toscano-morales

There are some good designs for rice husk (and other uniformly shaped ag waste) gasifying stoves in South East Asia, based on Alexis Belonio's designs in the Philippines. Dr. Paul Olivier, based in Vietnam, has his own Belonio-based design, and has done a lot of research into utilizing waste streams. You may be interested in some of his ideas. He has a website here: esrla.com.

About flooding in Los Rios, we have a friend here who was born and raised in Echeandia (ok, it is in Bolivar, but still the same physiography) and he would tell us about how everything flooded for a few months every year. They would live on fish during that time. Now, the new dams will keep things a little dryer, if you are downstream, but it could still get soggy during the rainy season.

Enjoy the rest of your visit. I had planned to be in Ecuador this Summer, but it looks like it will have to wait until Fall.
 
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