In less than two weeks, banana producers held two protests in Guayaquil, at the Zonal Government building. The latest one happened last Thursday, and the sector assures that such protests will not stop until the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) corrects their grievances.
This was stated by Franklin Torres, president of the National Banana Federation (Fenabe). “If they don’t take action, the seedlings will definitely come back. We have to stop these illegalities and legitimacy,” he warned, talking about the latest demand in his sector, the abolition of code F, which was added and is linked to the sector’s second leading demand, which is to respect the minimum support Price of a box of bananas, which for this year was set at $6.50.
In a new protest in Guayaquil, banana producers demanded the abolition of the ‘F code’
Code F is a mechanism present in the form 150 of the National Customs Service of Ecuador (Senae), through which, by entering the letter F before the farm code, exporting companies can export boxes of bananas without going through the MAG’s banana control system, according to Ministry officials.
Minister Eduardo Izaguirre and Undersecretary Musáceas, Nikcola Mora, explained this week that the use of this code is related to the FAS sales modality, a legal figure included in the Banana Law that export companies use to sell bananas to each other within the country. . However, MAG is investigating the alleged falsification of shipping guides generated by the alleged misuse of this tool.
Torres blamed the state portfolio for these alleged irregularities. “The complaints of fake farms, fake codes, fake shipping plans are based on this complaint that they themselves have been involved in, unfortunately this has always been the case in the banana sector. Now the MAG must understand why the exporter had no need to contract the fruit”.
According to Torres: “Exporters did not need to have contract manufacturers, with the ‘consequences’ for them, which is to pay the minimum support price and leave a guarantee in the MAG. They achieved all this by creating the famous code F”, and expressed regret that the Ministry has not yet responded to the sector’s request to abolish this code, although Undersecretary Mora assured on Tuesday that MAG and Senae are in meetings to stop the “manipulation”, citing on misuse of this code.
However, he indicated that the withdrawal of this code should be immediate.
“We will not wait any longer,” warned the leader. He recognized the legality of the FAS modality which allowed exporters to buy fruit from another exporting company on board, “the problem was that the exporter who was ‘selling’ was doing so with F code farms”.
How was the code used, allegedly, to export boxes of bananas without going through the banana control system? Musáceas’ undersecretary and minister Eduardo Izaguirre explains this
From the export sector, it was confirmed that business under the FAS modality continues to develop without interruption. This was stated on Friday, June 2, by the executive director of the Ecuadorian Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), Richard Salazar.
“We continue to export normally. The work of FAS, in accordance with the regulations, continues to be approved without any problems”, he assured and warned that “as soon as they pass measures that have an impact, of course we will react”.
Salazar defended this type of modality and assured that the problem is with the MAG system and not with the alleged abuse of the tool. “In this case, if MAG has to solve the problem of F codes in the Senae banana system, it has to solve it,” he said.
Regarding the signing of contracts, the leader of Ačorbanec criticized that some producers who did not sign contracts for this year intend to sell at the price stains in season and out of season they pay officially without signing a contract.
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