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Ecuador: Banana producers want a law that adapts to the reality of the market

Richard Salazar, executive director of the Banana Marketing and Export Association, said the current Banana Law should be reformed so that the country improves its productivity and competitiveness. 

Why is it necessary to reform the Banana Law?
"The current Law was issued in 1997 and, at that time, the reality of the banana sector was different. The main markets for our banana were the United States and Europe, which accounted for nearly 80% of our exports. Now, these two markets account for less than 43% of exports. Nowadays, most of our fruit goes to Russia, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America..." stated Salazar.

"The current Banana Law has a prohibition on sowing, and even on marketing the product. When the law was issued there were 129,000 hectares. In 2010, when the Law was reformed for the last time, the area increased to 210,000 hectares, despite the prohibition. Furthermore, all that fruit was exported," he said. From 2010 to date the area decreased. "According to estimates, there are currently around 180,000 hectares, as many people changed crops."

According to Salazar, the most important points of the proposal are "maintaining the minimum support price for producers, which should be set in a technical manner with the intervention of the Ministry of Foreign Trade."

"We want to formalize the spot price, that is, reach a mutual agreement so that a banana seller sells up to 30% of his production in spot, while exporters buys up to 30% of their export quota in spot." 

"We have requested that there be a sanction for exporters of up to 10% on the value evaded or not paid and that said value is delivered to the producer. There should also be an article to punish the producers that don't comply with a contract," he added.

"We have held working meetings with several assembly members, including Carlos Falquez, who has already presented a bill in the National Assembly, with which we agree on almost everything. His position is that there should be no new plantations of bananas. In principle we do not agree with this, because we might need new crops if the market grows," Salazar stated.

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