Jair Bolsonaro, the President of Brazil, denied on Thursday, March 14, that the measures his government is studying to restrict the import of bananas from Ecuador seeks to favor family members who grow the product in the state of Sao Paulo.
"No relative of mine has companies dedicated to producing bananas or is involved in businesses with this fruit. It is slander," said the head of state.
The president referred to alleged information published by the Brazilian press stating that he promised a nephew he would prevent the bananas from Ecuador from entering Brazil at a lower price than the Brazilian product, which has a better quality.
"This week the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper said that I am in that fight to defend banana production in a region where the Bolsonaro have many companies. It is an unfounded and irresponsible accusation. I don't like to refute the press but every day I see four or five news slandering me," he said.
The leader admitted that he had spoken about the possibility of restricting banana imports from Ecuador last week, as they affect the producers of the Vale do Ribeira, in the interior of the state of Sao Paulo and where his family is from.
In a transmission on Facebook, the president promised to put an end to banana imports from Ecuador to favor the Vale do Ribeira, a very poor region whose producers do not have the resources to compete with the Ecuadorians. Bolsonaro said he could not understand how a banana that left Ecuador and traveled nearly 10,000 kilometers, as it passed through the Panama Canal before reaching the Brazilian port of Santos, could be offered at competitive prices in the popular markets of Sao Paulo. Brazil produces about 7 million tons of bananas annually. A recent judicial decision requested by the National Confederation of Banana Producers restricted the entry of Ecuadorian banana due to phytosanitary and non-commercial reasons. According to the producers, Ecuadorian bananas can introduce a plague that does not exist in Brazil.