Letters from Ecuador part 8 - Go To Market with PACAT!

Posted by Heifer Sacramento On Thursday, August 14, 2014 0 comments
Letter 8 - Go To Market with PACAT!


Almost every article written about Heifer Ecuador mentions visiting the Plaza Pachano Saturday farmers’ market in Ambato where 150 PACAT merchants sell fruits, vegetables, meats, drinks and cooked food — all organic. Go early because the regular customers buy them out by 10 am!

PACAT stands for Productores Agroecológicos de Comercio Asociativo de Tungurahua or Commercial Association of Agroecoloical Producers of Tungurahua. To us Heifer tourists, PACAT came to mean the best in skillful strategy, savvy can-do, and sturdy cooperation.

About ten years ago, a small group of growers wanted to sell in this city market, but couldn't make their way through the red tape. Taking matters into their own hands, they began just showing up on Saturdays, after also showing up the day before to wash the concrete and clean up after a Friday animal market. Little by little over the years the PACAT section of the market has grown to take up more than half, and PACAT has achieved official legitimacy, and even winning an recent award from the province.

On our visit, we saw throngs of enthusiastic shoppers willingly paying a higher price for food that they trust to be high quality, and as several shoppers characterized it, “clean.” PACAT members have actively educated the customer base by offering farm tours. Señor Moreta, current president of PACAT, explained that “now if they spot a little worm among the vegetables, they aren’t fooled and they don’t worry, because they know that the food is healthy and organic.” We loved seeing the distinctive turquoise aprons worn by the PACAT folks — a great way to promote brand awareness — one of the marketing strategies carried out by the paid publicity staffers.

Heifer Ecuador got involved because PACAT met its criterion of being “an organization in harmony with Heifer’s mission, with a clearly defined purpose, and with goals that they couldn’t quite meet on their own.” Heifer Ecuador's seed money formed a capital fund from which PACAT issue micro-loans to members — 250 loans in the past 2+ years. Heifer also provided technical assistance in forming a small corps of techs who act as specialists, helping growers achieve and then maintain organic certification from the province.


Señor Moreta summed it up: “Thank you for visiting. You’ve seen something of our farms, and now the market; Heifer Ecuador has been of great help in establishing us in the market; sincere thanks… We send greetings to Heifer USA, and please don’t let this be the last visit!”
Bookmark and Share

Heifer International Blog

News & Events

Check this space for the latest news about Heifer in Sacramento.

Our next volunteer meeting is April 3, 2017 at 6 pm.

Interested? Visitors are always welcome. Email us (heifersacramento at gmail dot com) for location details.




Join Heifer Sacramento
Email: heifersacramento@gmail.com

Jill Kilty Newburn
Area Community Engagement Manager, Heifer International
Email jill.kiltynewburn@heifer.org

Teresa Fung
Blog Editor, Heifer Sacramento
Email heifersacramento@gmail.com

Suellen Rowlison
Chico/North State, Heifer Contact
Email suellen@garlic.com

Follow by Email

Upcoming Events

Heifer Volunteer Blogs

About Us

Heifer in Sacramento is a grassroots volunteer group in Northern California, with a common goal of fulfilling Heifer International's basic mission - "To end hunger and save the earth by passing on the gift to others." We are an extension of Heifer International and together we are improving our world and the lives of resource-poor families while building the foundation for a peaceful world in practical, down-to-earth ways.