Sigatoka affects 70,000 banana hectares in Ecuador

About 70,000 hectares of banana plantations have been affected by the black sigatoka so far this year. As a result, the supply of fruit for export fell by 25 million boxes.

Gustavo Marún, president of the Ecuadorian Banana Regional Corporation (Agroban), said farmers fear that next winter will again affect fruit production and that they would n´t be able to prevent contamination in their crops due to lack of resources.

The problem was discussed yesterday at the first international forum on black sigatoka in Guayaquil.

Marún explained it is necessary for the Government, through the National Finance Corporation, to incorporate a credit line for the banana sector, which will allow the purchase of chemicals to combat the fungus and rehabilitate farms.

However, Marun recognized the producers are going through other types of problems. The price for the banana box ($ 5.50) has been frozen for four years, while they have had to overcome the increases in basic wages for workers, which was 10% each year, besides the hike in the price of fertilizers and supplies.

Meanwhile, Marcial Guzman, Costa Rica's banana expert, said it is necessary to be prepared so as not to have to burn plantations because of the Sigatoka.

He said that drainage systems should be implemented for rainwater so sources of infection are avoided.

Source: Eluniverso.com


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