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Ecuador’s food biodiversity

LiveTheLifeinEcuador  | October 21, 2015

Because of its tropical location, the soar and spread of the Andes, rich volcanic soil and proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the Amazon basin, Ecuador boasts one of the richest and most diverse ecosystems on earth.

Ecuador is home to over 25,000 species of plants, 1,600 of birds, 800 of fish, and over 300 species of mammals.


High biodiversity go hand-in-hand with high agricultural productivity.

Soil exhaustion and ecological collapse caused many a downfall in Ecuador’s history, even before the Iberian conquest. But the lessons of the past are not lost to present-day Ecuador, so it comes as no surprise that the country has a thriving agricultural sector avoiding the fate of empires past.

Volcanic eruptions post-Spanish colonization have restored Ecuador’s fertile, mineral-rich soil and farmlands are again ideal for growing a wide variety of cash crops, such as:

  • Banana
  • Plantain
  • Sugar cane
  • Maize
  • African palm
  • Soy bean
  • Maracuya
  • Mango

IMG_8919Bananas are Ecuador’s main export, produced in the central and coastal regions, while African palm is grown in the more humid areas.

Large farmers grow maize and soybean, small-scale ones cultivate coffee, cacao, sugar cane, plantain, rice, papaya, pineapple and more.

Andean highlands

The Andes is hospitable to a wide variety of cash crops, including:

  • Soft-type maize
  • Potato
  • Faba bean
  • Bush bean
  • Barley
  • Tuber
  • Pea
  • Quinoa
  • Tomato
  • Naranjilla
  • Chocho

In the Andes, subsistence farming of specialty or horticultural crops is practiced for family consumption only or for limited barter, while broccoli, avocado, and blackberry are produced for the local market.

The Amazon region

The Amazon region, like the Nile valley of Egypt, is prime area for export crops like:

  • Plantain
  • Coffee
  • Sugar cane
  • Rice
  • African palm
  • Cocoa
  • Maize

Around the Amazon basin, farmers grow niche crops such as tea, citrus, and cassava.

With such a huge swathe of fertile, arable land of such diverse climatic temperaments, it’s no wonder organic farming is very popular in Ecuador.

LIVE THE LIFE offers farm fresh delivery for residents. For more info, visit this page.