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Ecuadorian banana producers protest falling sales and prices due to war in Ukraine

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Some 500 banana growers in Ecuador They gave away boxes of fruit during a protest caravan this Monday in Guayaquil, as a result of the millionaire losses that accumulate due to the effects of the war in ukraine and the consequent fall in the domestic price.

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Closely followed by vehicles loaded with fruit, farmers from five provinces walked about 16 kilometers to the government headquarters in the north of the city. People who approached them were given boxes of bananas shouting slogans and a unanimous request: declare the sector in an emergency.

Bananas are one of Ecuador’s main export products, after oil and shrimp.

“Every week we stop selling around 4,000 to 5,000 boxes of bananas, because of the war there are no shipments”said Franklin Torrespresident of the Federation of Banana Growers of Ecuador (Fenabe)which brings together small and medium producers.

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According to the union, the sanctions imposed on Russia for the invasion of Ukraine stopped the shipment of fruit from European ports to Saint Petersburg. The Russian market concentrates 21% of exports.

La Fenabe estimates that since the beginning of the conflict, on February 24, the losses have reached US$10 million. Given the lack of output of bananas, the domestic price plummeted.

The Ministry of Agriculture set the price of a box of bananas at US$6.25, but the producers assure that it is negotiated on the market at US$1.50.

“We are throwing away the fruit or giving it away on the roads because with the value they pay us of one dollar per box of bananas, it is impossible to continue producing”commented Second Solanoa farmer from Machalaknown as the banana capital of Ecuador, in the province of Goldborder with Peru.

In the last two weeks alone, 2.3 million boxes of bananas have not been sold to Russia and Ukrainea marginal buyer, according to exporters grouped in Arcobanecwhich calculate losses at US$ 18 million per week.

Mireya Carrera, owner of a small producing farm, pointed out that she has some 4,000 clusters about to be lost, so she preferred to give them away.

“We are going bankrupt because they are not paying us even the minimum price of the box. The workforce of our collaborators is being suspended, small plantations are disappearing because we do not have money to maintain them”he pointed.

In 2021, banana exports reached US$3,485 million, according to the Central Bank of Ecuador.

Source: Gestion

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