The palm industry in Ecuador hopes, in the short term, to present the new Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Bernardo Manzanoa report on the current situation of the sector, assured Diario EL UNIVERSO Óscar Calahorrano, executive president of Propalma.
This, in a context in which the prices of the different edible oils have presented an international escalation of up to 246%from 2020 to 2022, as in the case of the ton of sunflower oil, 211% that of palm, 178% that of soybeans and 165% that of canolaaccording to figures shared by the union.
The causes have multiple factors, such as the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, the La Niña phenomenon in Africa or the restriction of exports from Indonesia – the largest producer of palm oil in the world – which generates more pressure on the international market.
Russia-Ukraine war and plague in the palm are the main factors of the increase in edible oil
While in the domestic market, where the impact is also reflected in the increase in prices, the loss of palm production due to the rotting of the bud (plague in the palm) is added, for which the country has lost between 110,000 and 120,000 productive hectares, mostly in Esmeraldas, which also affects 40,000 direct jobs, according to Calahorrano, who assured that the country has gone from producing more than 604,000 tons of crude palm oil in 2017 to producing 380,000 this year.
He pointed out that as representatives of the industry they maintain permanent contact with the authorities and key organizations for the sector, to whom they have transferred their comments and position on the global context that this productive activity is going through.
Although he acknowledged that the Government is open to listen to his concerns, he regretted that there are still no definitions on possible support or specific programs to strengthen the sector.
“That is why we see this moment as an opportunity to jointly outline productive initiatives that allow us to recover the fields lost due to bud rot,” said the leader.
He explained that the intention is to seek, together with the minister and his team, alternatives to reactivate the national production of palm, the productive dynamics and the employment of the province of Esmeraldas, the main producer of palm at the national level with 137,445 tons of crude palm oil. At the national level, production amounts to 419,018 tons.
“To make these objectives viable, financial support is required -through public banking- to producers, as well as the development of a program for the eradication of plantations affected by the plague and care of current crops,” explained the president. Propalma executive.
He indicated that an agile line of credit is needed with conditions consistent with the production cycle of oil palm with clear processes and a single-digit interest rate. “We hope that it can materialize in the coming months because this was one of the most important campaign proposals of the current government, to boost agricultural production and make timely financing available to producers and in adequate conditions,” he said.
From agriculture they want the new Minister of Agriculture to be able to direct the sector after two failed attempts
Another request is to protect the local supply.
The director of Propalma assured that the decision and commitment of the actors that make up the chain are fundamental, because they are at the gates of summer, which is the period in which production contracts and therefore there would be less availability of raw material. .
Along these lines, it is essential to know the levels of demand for raw materials in the country, in order to determine if there would be a deficit or surplus -in the case of local production- and, based on this, to explore mechanisms that allow ensuring, as a priority, local supply. and only after the possibility of export.
“We must not lose sight of the fact that due to all the factors that have been mentioned (war conflict, reactivation of demand, climatic factors, export restrictions of producing countries, among others), the countries of the world are currently seeking to supply themselves and Ecuador, as producing country, is in the sights of world buyers”, warned Calahorrano, who indicated that although Ecuador is a producing country, the local prices of the raw material must be equated to international levels to prevent the raw material from being exported for better prices. price conditions in the international market. (I)