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Temuco, Chile

Latin America Accelerator
in partnership with NESsT  

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NG-Seeds produces, processes, and commercializes lupine and its byproducts, for both animal feed and human consumption

Araucanía in Southern Chile is the poorest region in Chile and also highly vulnerable to climate change. The indigenous farmers who live in the region face limited distribution channels that tend to undervalue their product by placing greater emphasis on yields as opposed to the quality of their crop. Additionally, indigenous farmers lack access to financing to invest in technological upgrades and to cover costs during difficult seasons, as well as low internet connectivity that would enable them to access resources online.

In response to these challenges, the local Machupe farmers formed cooperatives to help them cope with difficult production seasons and to manage the high costs of agricultural inputs. More than 1,000 indigenous families in the region cultivate lupine, a gluten-free grain that provides essential amino acids, antioxidants and fibre that is appealing to consumers globally, especially those maintaining special diets for diabetes or celiac disease.

NG-Seeds produces, processes and commercializes lupine and its by-products and provides farmers with technology, technical assistance, and access to capital. This enables the producers to integrate into the local and global food value chains and generate stable income sources. The social enterprise is owned by five Mapuche cooperatives and its partner CGNA, a regional centre for plant and food science and technology that developed the lupine variety.

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Mapuche farmers live in extreme poverty unable to produce enough income and food to sustain their families. This plight is not unique to Chile, but a story that resonates with farmers around the world. NG-Seeds, in partnership with NESsT and IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, will launch multiple marketing initiatives, including outreach to academic institutions, publications, and media to increase awareness about the importance of this heirloom product and the work of the cooperatives.