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Ecuador: Is the Banana Law being implemented?
The former deputy, Fulton Serrano Batallas, urged each province's Assembly members to press Minister Vanesa Cordero to explain whether the Banana Law is actually being implemented.
The execution of guarantees that must be consigned by exporters, and is equivalent to the volume of boxes to be marketed abroad, as established by the Banana Law in force since 2000, was demanded by small and medium producers of the fruit.
The petition also calls for the National Assembly of the Agriculture and Livestock Minister, Vanessa Cordero, to explain whether the legal framework is actually fulfilled, an issue that involves assembly members from banana provinces such as El Oro, Guayas, Los Ríos, Esmeraldas, Santo Domingo of the Tsáchilas, Cañar or Bolivar.
Seventeen years after the enactment of the legal framework in force to date, according to the ex-legislator Orense (1984-88 and 1998-2002) and well-known banana producer Fulton Serrano Batallas, his representatives are still obliged to act in that context.
The legal framework clearly defined that any breach of the law linked to the failure to recognize the official price of the fruit box obliged the Ecuadorian State, through the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, to act on the guarantees, but most Ecuadorian producers have doubts these are executed.
He considered that, at the moment when this sector, which is mainly comprised of small and medium producers, faces an unprecedented price crisis, the Ecuadorian State is obliged to act based on the Law. Nevertheless after minister Cordero's visit last Thursday August 31 where she presided over the Productive and Tax Advisory Council meeting she noted that nothing had been achieved.
The cocoa producer and stockbreeder also said that the minister announced that on September 26, the 26 sectoral tables on market access, innovation, taxation, investment and financing will be transferred to President Lenin Moreno.
He considered that these would be long-term solutions and not immediate ones. Even more so when what is required is the enforcement of the law and the defense of producers victimized by exporters for their non-payment of the current $ 6.26 support price. The price per box outside the contract is currently at $ 1.80 and $ 2.
The ex-deputy insisted that since the law has not been repealed, no executive decree or ministerial agreement is above it and therefore it is in force, opening a space for Assembly members to act within the legal framework in a matter that is strictly within their competences.
He stressed that the legal framework also does not empower the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock to give exporter's a green light so they can condition producer's into signing the annual fruit purchase contract to accept pressures for the payment of 60 or 70 percent of the fruit at the official price while 40 or 30 percent is recognized at values outside the contract.
Volume for EU
He also said that it would be up to the Ministry of Foreign Trade to verify, through the regular channels, whether the volume allocated to Ecuador by the European Union, that would be 1 million 800 thousand tons within the trade agreement in force since January 2017 is met, as it not executed in full.
He affirmed that it was necessary to act firmly in order to formalize the Secretary of State's request to appear, in order to support the plan drawn up to apply greater control to exporters who are accused of paying prices ranging from 1.80 and 2 dollars per box, by the Portfolio of Agriculture and Livestock.
The farmer and descendant of the disappeared banana leader Alberto Serrano Zambrano, who founded the Association of Banana Growers (ABO) in the mid-1990s, argues that the price crisis provoked by the export sector could be counteracted if the law that establishes drastic sanctions against those who infract it, is implemented.
The Banana Law passed when the 1998-2000 legislative period was in exercise, and which in his opinion is the same one, that supports the current and established drastic sanctions for exporters in cases when they do not pay the official price.
Publication date: 9/7/2017
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