Banana producers in El Oro blocked the roads yesterday for the second consecutive day. On Monday, producers from the provinces of Guayas, Los Rios, and El Oro started to protest and blocked some roads to draw the government's attention and to demand a correct price for their fruit, whose minimum support price for this year stands at 6.25 dollars per box.
Producers' complaints about the price they get paid for a box of fruit are not new, but they have been aggravated by the impact of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, as Ecuador destines 25% of the banana it exports to these destinations. According to data from the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), losses in both destinations totaled around $27.52 million during the first five weeks of the conflict.
According to Solano, a banana leader from the province of El Oro and part of the Federation of Banana Producers of Ecuador (Fenabe), the protest in the canton of El Guabo, where the roads were closed, will continue until the government responds to their demands.
Franklin Torres, president of the Fenabe, said on Tuesday morning that in the last week alone 50,000 jobs have been lost in the banana production sector because the export sector was not respecting the minimum support price of the box of bananas. “About 8,000 producers are on the verge of bankruptcy and 300,000 direct jobs are in danger,” he said.
Last Monday, the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Pedro Alava, said that the controls had allowed them to detect 40 export companies that, allegedly, were not paying the price.