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Salinas de Guaranda: A model for indigenous rights and microenterprise

Another stop on our upcoming trip to Ecuador … Salinas De Guaranda.

Salinas has become an example of community-owned economic enterpise in Ecuador. Famous for their production of high quality cheese exported to European markets, Salinas also has coopertively-owned manufacturing facilities for sausage, chocolate, candies, mushrooms, yarn and sugar. 

Salinas is surrounded by meadows and mountains of the beautiful Andean valley at an altitude of 3550 meters. Salinas was established as a civil parish in 1884. At that time the only source of work was in the area’s aSalinas De Guarandample salt mines. It was laborious work to evaporate the salt water . The process involves cooking the salt water in large pots to dry the content and shape the remaining salt residue into balls for transport and resell.  

The entire community has been organized into various economic development cooperatives and Salinas residents have been successful   in creating jobs resulting  in a stable and progressive economy, strictly using resources of the area.

Salinas also has several attractions including majestic rock outcroppings, and the Chazojuan waterfall.  The area has endemic fauna like the tiger and unique mountain birds.