Morochos Sustainable
Agriculture Initiative
Cantón Cotacachi, Imbabura

Morochos is a Kichwa-speaking Indigenous community
of about 800 people located at 2800 meters (9240 feet)
on the southern face of the Cotacachi Volcano in
Imbabura Province.

Since the land reforms of the 1960s (which transferred
hacienda lands to communal holdings) Morochos has
seen increased strain on its natural environment with a
rapid increase in population and the adoption of
chemical-based agriculture. The two most pressing
sustainability issues for the community are diminishing
water resources and soil erosion and fertility
degredation: both the results of rampant deforestation in
order to open more agricultural land.

CASA is working with Morochos on a reforestation plan
designed to conserve and increase water resources, as
well as workshops and intitiatives promoting sustainable
agriculture techniques and food security. The long term
goal is to create a sustainable agriculture model for
surrounding communities that functions as a "living

In addition, the residents of Morochos are independently
working on several interesting community development
projects including beekeeping and honey production,
community organic gardens that provide lunches for the
elementary school, and an alpaca project where the
animals are raised and sheered and the wool is
transformed into value-added products like sweaters.

Morochos is one of the more traditional Indigenous
communities in northern Ecuador and ancient
cosmosvision, medicine, customs, music and festivals
are still very much alive.

Visitors stay in comfortable guest houses, or albuerges,
built by families in the community. The cost per day,
including 3 traditional meals, is $20 per person. The
community has several licensed, native guides who can
arrange a variety of hikes and horse treks to nearby
Lago Cuicocha, the alpaca project, the summit of the
Cotacachi Volcano or a traverse of the volcano to the
community of Peribuela:

Day-trips or long-term stays can be arranged for
students, tourists, hikers, or researchers.

The Morochos Sustainable Agriculture Initiative is
actively looking for individuals who have knowledge of,
or can help in, the following areas.

  • Organic agriculture/permaculture
  • Tourism public relations
  • Small business planning and development
  • Beekeeping
  • Botany and/or plant species identification and
  • Native species reforestation and tree nursery
  • Water and irrigation systems
  • Historical and ethnographic documentation

CONTACT Peter Shear for more information:

in Ecuador: 086-849-950
Inter-American Center for the Arts, Sustainability,and Action

Centro Interamericano para las Artes, el Sustento, y la Acción