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Ecuador banana growers block roads to protest prices

Banana growers from three Ecuadorian provinces blocked main roads across the South American country on Monday to demand government action to boost prices they say are too low for them to meet production costs. Growers were blocking major highways in the provinces of El Oro, Guayas and Los Rios with rocks and stones, saying they are struggling to break even because their share of sales is too low.

The cost to produce each 18-kilogram box of bananas has risen above $5, Mirella Carrera, a banana producer from the province of Guayas told Reuters, but growers receive a maximum of $1.50 per box.

"We ask that the government solve part of this serious problem, either by buying bunches from the small banana producers or, if not, that it pay up for the (pest) fumigations, which is the most expensive," said one banana producer.

The police were in charge of clearing the road of the stone material that the banana producers placed to block traffic in protest at the crisis that the sector is going through due to the fruit that has stopped being exported to Russia and Ukraine.

With stone material and bunches of bananas, the farmers blocked roads such as the Puente de la Iberia and Río Bonito-El Guabo, as well as the Machala-El Guabo highway and the road to Puerto Inca, which caused great congestion. However, personnel from the National Police, with shovels, was in charge of restoring traffic by removing the material placed by the banana growers.


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