Sustainable Production and Commercialization of Indigo in El Salvador - Phase II

The Asociación Balsamo is working to develop an alternative agroindustrial model for indigo production in El Salvador that will enable smallholders to produce indigo as their main source of income.

This project will allow a team of researchers from the University of Alberta to support the Asociación Balsamo by informing and pilot testing a suitable model for indigo production in the community of San Lucas, Cuisnahuat municipality, Sonsonate province.

During the first phase of the project (104599), researchers reviewed the history of indigo production in El Salvador, identified the major actors in the indigo trade, documented the evolution of the demand for indigo dye, examined current practices of indigo producers and identified some options for improving indigo cultivation and dye extraction.

This phase will focus on monitoring the field trials, aligning local practices with fair trade and organic certification requirements, and identifying markets for dye power and dyed products. The idea is to design a business model based on sustainable production and viable commercialization of indigo dye powder and products dyed with indigo that will bring socioeconomic benefits to all members of this and ultimately other Salvadoran communities.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Monday, February 1, 2010

End Date

Saturday, March 31, 2012


24 months

IDRC Officer

Mougeot, Luc

Total funding

CA$ 117,910


Canada, North and Central America, El Salvador, South America


Foundations for Innovation

Project Leader

Crown, Elizabeth M.


University of Alberta

Institution Country


Institution Website