An agreement has been reached to set up a new partnership in egg production in Chile. The agreement has been recognized internationally because it promotes the welfare of hens and respect for the environment, as well as prioritizing the fair trade system for farmers. The new initiative comes from Ecoterra in cooperation with the Chilean government’s Agricultural Development Institute, INDAP. Agriculture Minister Carlos Furche, and the executive director of the Foundation for Agrarian Innovation (FIA), Hector Echeverria, attended the official launch.
“This initiative brings together several remarkable features,” said Furche. “First, this is the first example of fair trade certification for egg production in Chile or worldwide. Secondly, the initiative has the dimension of environmental sustainability that is very relevant and, thirdly, it is significant in involving small farmers and allowing them to improve their income.”
The model,developed by Ecoterra,aims to secure economic rights for those who are unable to access large markets using a system that respects all aspects of sustainability. It will be the first organization in Chile to produce chicken eggs certified by the Institute for Market Ecology (IMO) with ‘Fair for Life’certification.
“We have supported and developed this innovative model to bring agriculture closer to the city,” said Echeverria. “There are plenty of people in cities who know nothing about farming but we can all respond to future challenges by bringing together these products and organizations through joint work.”
Free-range systems for chickens have been implemented with success in the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, Germany and Switzerland, where they aim to produce high-quality food using resources sustainably and with respect for the environment. The hens live naturally, without controlled light, temperature or humidity, on organic pasture foraging for feed grains, grass, insects and worms. Birds have 5m2 in outdoor space and the range is managed naturally without application of herbicides or pesticides. The low stocking density means that antibiotics or growth promoters are unnecessary in the feed.
“From the beginning, our project sought to produce free-range eggs on a fair trade basis, so the production chain involved small producers working cooperatively,” said Pablo Albarran, manager of Ecoterra. “The project has delivered excellent results, allowing these farmers to earn up to 5 times the minimum income each month. This far exceeds the average income for farm workers – an achievement that was unthinkable before as small farmers are often marginalized and unable to benefits from added value in the food supply chain.”