PRODEL Success Story: Bringing Guayusa to the World Market
In an ancient tradition, indigenous Amazonian families drink guayusa from gourds around a communal fire and to share dreams, music and myths. Indigenous farmers say this tradition is essential to what makes them “Runa”—fully living human beings. In 2009, three students teamed up with communities of indigenous farmers from Ecuador’s Northern Amazon Region to share the guayusa (why-you-suh) drink and ritual with the rest of the world.
The resulting enterprise, RunaTarpuna or Runa, was established as a business that respects cultural traditions, supports small farmers, and helps the Amazon rainforest thrive. In 2010, Runa partnered with USAID’s PRODEL program in Ecuador to expand its production, improve product quality, and reinforce its entrance into the world market.
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