*Travel from Quito to Agato-Otavalo. Looking for fair trade-certified flowers.
Agato is a Kichwa (Quichua) village outside of the City of Otavalo. (Quichua is the Spanish spelling of Kichwa.) Kichwa is one of two languages recognized (in limited ways) by the new constitution passed on September 28, 2008.
En route to Otavalo, we passed rows and rows of greenhouses where roses and carnations are grown. I asked about fair trade or organic flower growing, but no one seemed to know about any greenhouses belonging to fair trade companies. Those who work in the greenhouses are exposed to dangerous pesticides. During my days in Ecuador, many people told me about their serious concerns about pesticides that escape into the air and affect people living in the region, not just those working in the greenhouses.
Note: There is a movement for fair trade-certified flowers in Ecuador. Fair trade-certified flowers have been available in Europe for many years, and since 2007 a few companies have offered them for sale in the United States. The Fair Trade Resource Network provides information about this on its website. Fair trade flowers also come from several companies n Colombia.
Copyright ©2008, by Paulette L. Stenzel