Ecuador: UNA EP increases banana exports

A few days ago, the public company National Storage Unit (UNA EP for its acronym in Spanish) signed annual contracts of banana purchase/sales, at the current minimum support price ($ 6.55), with 10 associations of small producers.

"In just a year and a half the UNA EP went from exporting 2,000 boxes of bananas per week, in March 2014, when we started operations with two associations, to the current 52,000 boxes per week. We expect to buy 70,000 boxes per week until the end of October," said Mao Lam, general manager of the entity.

The unions that signed contracts are: Pajonal Banana Production Cooperative, New Age Association of Small Farmers, New Life Association of Small Banana Producers (Aprobavin), Association of Banana Producers of the Canton Naranjal and neighboring areas, El Retiro Agricultural Corporation, Association of Organic Farmers and Ecological Banasol, Association of Small Banana Producers El Guabo, Association of Tropical Fruit Producers Costa Verde, Cooperative of Agricultural Production and Marketing, and the Banana and Tropical Fruit Growers Association.

Some of these organizations were established with the support of strategic and productive programs of the Ministry of Agriculture; such as Aprobavin, which was legally constituted in 2013, brings together 36 small farmers (that have between 5 and 16 hectares each) in Pasaje, El Guabo, and El Oro.

"UNA EP gave us the opportunity to sign contracts to sell them 3,000 boxes per week, but we already started negotiations to sell them another 5,000 boxes. The benefit we receive is the minimum support price per box and we can reinvest that money in the farm," said Danny Cruz, legal representative of the Association.

In total, 104 small farmers benefit from the contracts signed with the UNA EP. The purchased fruit is exported to markets such as Slovenia, Turkey, Libya, Montenegro, Egypt, Iran and China.


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