Ecuador: Potato producers request more controls to avoid smuggling

The imports of potatoes, among other agricultural products of massive consumption, from Peru and Colombia harms producers of the Tungurahua Tisaleo canton.

In this town, located 30 minutes from Ambato, a large part of the potato varieties are grown and sold in the Wholesale Market of the Tungurahua capital.

Many merchants in this important collection center are being affected by the products smuggled at this time each year, and are forced to lower the costs of their crops due to an overproduction of potatoes on the northern border.

Faced with this situation, last week, the authorities of Tisaleo and representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), the National Customs Service of Ecuador, and Agrocalidad, went to the canton to participate in a meeting convened by the producers.

"In the meeting, producers expressed their concern about the entry of the product from the south and north. In response, the State portfolio will apply the National Plan to Fight Contraband, which involves 20 institutions that carry out border inspections," said Juan Vallejo, a delegate of the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Ruben Flores.

This work is articulated under the Integrated Control Units program, in which a team of specialized people analyzes the entry and exit of goods 24 hours a day.

"To validate that a product is from Ecuador, suppliers must present a Proof of National Origin of Agricultural Products at the entrance of wholesale markets in the country," Vallejo added.

Miguel Quiquintuña, a farmer from Tisaleo, and representatives of the canton's producers said that, apart from more controls, they also wanted better conditions for the commercialization of the tuber.

"People say that no smuggled products enter the Wholesale Market of Ambato; the truth, however, is that a large amount of Peruvian potatoes and onions are marketed there every day," he said.


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