Quevedo – The Heart of Ecuador’s Agriculture
Located in the Los Rios Province of Ecuador, and serving as the administrative and commercial center of the Quevedo Canton, the city of Quevedo was founded in 1943. This bustling city of more than 173,000 residents is reported to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country. As the intersection for all major roads in the region, including the Pan-American highway, Quevedo is an important commercial and logistics link between cities such as Ambato and Quito in the Andes highlands, and the coastal cities of Guayaquil, Manta and Santa Domingo.
The fertile land comprised of rich volcanic soils, along with the tropical wet climate of Quevedo has long supported agricultural activities, and the canton is a leading exporter of passion fruit, bananas, cacao and the bean that produces the world’s favorite beverage – coffee. The major problem faced by the city is that its location west of the Andes Mountains, on the banks of the Vinces River that flows to the Pacific Ocean, makes it vulnerable to flooding. Nevertheless, the rapid growth of the city shows that its citizens are prepared to cope with the potential hazards of floodwaters.
Developments in Quevedo include growth in the educational and financial sectors, with the Universidad Técnica Estatal de Quevedo being well known for its program in agricultural sciences. Food processing factories in the city process and package many of the agricultural products grown in the area, with the emphasis on organic products to meet the growing demand both locally and internationally.
Evidence of the long agricultural history of the region is found in the Montubio culture, of which Quevedo is the center. The word monte describes the agricultural fields and the Montubio culture preserves the customs and folklore of the early settlers of the region. In 2001 the Montubio people were officially accepted as an ethnic identity in Ecuador, although some view them as a sub-culture of the Mestizo peoples. In order to protect the rights of this minority group, the Council for the Development of the Montubio People of the Ecuadorian Coast and Subtropical Zones of the Littoral Region (CODEPMOC) was granted both official recognition and government funding. Visitors to the city and surroundings will find the culture and customs of the Montubio people adds to the charm of Quevedo.