Marta Gualsaqui was one of the first farmers in the Cumbas community to produce goldenberry eight years ago, and the organic plant is now well established as her family’s main income source. Before goldenberry, however, Marta made a very meager income from crafting bracelets, earning $5-$10 every now and then, but with no regularity. Marta started slowly with 250 goldenberry plants, and was so impressed by the regular income, earning around $150 a week, has expanded her plot to 900 plants.
Although Marta was unable to attend school as a child, she prioritizes education for her six children, five of whom are still in primary and high school in neighboring Quiroga. “Transport can be expensive to send my five children by bus to another town every day ($5), and without my income from goldenberry, it would simply not be possible”. But Marta says that its absolutely worth it as she is aware that a good education is vital today. Her eldest child, Elena, is a case in point – having recently graduated from high school has found her first job working at a reputable hotel close by in Cuicocha!