Farmer-to-Farmer Biodegradable Plastics Specialist

  • Panguintza, Ecuador
  • Contract

Company Description

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, technical assistance, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 100 countries in the areas of food security, agricultural development, strengthening of communities and farmer organizations, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women, and youth. We currently work in 21 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program sends American farmers and agribusiness professionals on 2-4 week agricultural development assignments, promoting sustainable growth and agricultural development worldwide.  Volunteer technical assistance from U.S. farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives and universities helps smallholder farmers in developing countries improve productivity, access new markets and conserve environmental and natural resources.  During COVID-19 we have shifted to a hybrid volunteer model that affords US volunteers and in-country volunteers the opportunity to continue to provide technical assistance.   Compensation in the form of lodging, transportation, per diem, is provided by NCBA CLUSA.  No salary/consultant fees are paid. For more information visit NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer.

Job Description

NCBA CLUSA is currently seeking 2 (1- remote US volunteer and 1- volunteer based in Ecuador) qualified Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer candidates for the position of Biodegradable Plastics Specialist to support Federación de Pequeños Exportadores Agropecuarios Orgánicos del Sur de la Amazonia Ecuatoriana (Federación APEOSAE) based in Centinela del Condor, Ecuador.

APEOSAE was established in 2006 as part of an industry wide effort to analyze the productive chain problems in the cacao, coffee, and plantain industries in Ecuador. APEOSAE collects crops, transforms them, packages the products, and sells the products nationally and internationally. Currently they sell dried cacao, parchment coffee, peeled plantains, roast and ground coffee, and plantain chips.

APEOSAE wants to take advantage of the organic plantain peel waste and create environmentally friendly packages for their products. The organization has the machinery and budget for this initiative; however, they know very little about this process and have no experience. The volunteer should know about the machinery, materials, processes, and formulations required to make a quality product and help APEOSAE’s members learn this information.

Duration: 2 Weeks (January – June 2022)



  • The volunteer will train participants to produce biodegradable plastics from plantain peels while making recommendations on materials and formulation.  
  • The volunteer will provide advice on the correct use of machinery to produce biodegradable plastics.  
  • The volunteer will teach participants about practical procedures for the creation of biodegradable plastics using plantain peels.  



  • The volunteer should manage the production of biodegradable plastics.  
  • The volunteer should know alternatives for the treatment of plantain waste (peels).  
  • Degree in Industrial, Environmental, or Agricultural Engineer, or related majors.  
  • Background working with associations in agriculture is a plus.  
  • Available for virtual communications with Host Organization, Staff and Co-volunteer.
  • US candidate must be legally able to work in the U.S. without sponsorship
  • Advanced English language skills; reading, writing, speaking.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

All application materials must be submitted in English.

Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

NCBA CLUSA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a commitment to diversity.  All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, age, and legally protected characteristics for non-merit factors.