Even though this year's pearl onion production in Manabi was very good, producers are going through the worst time regarding their business, as they are unable to sell their product and it is rotting in the fields.

Freddy Bravo administrates a farm that produced 1,200 quintals per hectare this year, i.e. 400 quintals more than usual. The owners of the farm, however, are currently looking for a warehouse in Montecristi to keep the product because they haven't been able to sell the product and the few buyers they've had come from Tulcán and are only paying between four and five dollars a bag.

Up to a year ago the price of onions was $32 dollars, which encouraged many to venture into this culture.

Lubert Valencia, President of the Pearl Onion Producers Corporation of Manabi, said the crisis was the result of Venezuela's ban on imports of Ecuadorian onions, as this was their biggest market, and the overproduction of onions in Colombia, Ecuador's second biggest client.

Valencia stated that producing a sack of onions cost $10 dollars, so they were currently working at a loss.

He said that 104 associates had 800 hectares of this crop between Portoviejo, Sucre, Rocafuerte and Junín, and that they had generated 20,000 tons in 2013, for which they required 1,000 part time workers for various tasks, especially for the harvest.

Valencia added that the farmers were facing another serious problem, as many of them had taken out loans to cultivate and currently owed money to financial institutions and to agricultural input suppliers.

He also said their plan was to cultivate red onions, as it grows well in Manabi, but that they needed the Government to limit Peruvian imports.

Source: El Diario