Ecuador: Plum harvest decreases because of the rains

"Plums don't need much water and it rained here until June," stated Flora Borbor, a 64-year old producer who owns a farm in the Juntas del Pacifico commune, when discussing the low production of plum this season compared to other harvest seasons.

Last Friday, almost at noon, Borbon and her relatives ended their first day of harvesting plums. Her son, Ruben de la Cruz dispatched 40 boxes of fruit to wholesaler Fausto Dominguez, who was taking them by truck to the Montebello market, west of Guayaquil. Then he sold another 60 boxes to another trader, Michael Rosado, who planned to send them to Esmeraldas, via bus.

Producers from the Juntas harvest the plums between October and December. In better times, the farms sold hundreds of boxes with thousands of plums.

However, the harvest in 2015 began two weeks ago, but sporadically because there still is fruit developing.

"The plum is as thick as my finger," stated Primitivo Salinas, the director of the peninsular commune, which is located on the border of rural Guayaquil and can be accessed via a detour at km 30 of the road to the coast.

The plum Salinas expected to pick in his 5 hectares of land is still not very thick so he has to wait to start the harvest for a few weeks. According to him, the commune sells between 10,000 and 15,000 cases of plums per harvest.

He avoided making production estimates for the current season because, as other producers stated, the rains that lasted until June had brought down the flowers and made them lose fruits.

Last Friday, a box of plum, which can hold up to 800 plums, was being sold for $9. Therefore, if they produce up to 15,000 boxes producers would make $135,000.

Juntas del Pacifico, which is part of the Julio Moreno parish, Canton Santa Elena, organizes a festival to celebrate their fruit. The 26th edition will be held on November 1 and 2, with music bands, indoor tournaments, an orchestra, and, naturally, many plums; both fresh and processed in jams, liquor, yogurt, ice creams, and cocktails, among others.

The association of plum producers from la Junta’s seeks to position their processed products in the market via the El Ciruelo brand. Primitivo Salinas, who is part of the group that was founded in November 2008, said that university students had developed a project that allowed them to improve the preparation of their products.

Gladys Perero said that, thanks to their training, she no longer burns her jams. She is preparing jam to offer it to the families that will visit the municipality in the festival and in the upcoming holidays: the Day of the Dead and the independence of Cuenca.

Access road
To get to Juntas del Pacifico, one must make a detour on the 30th km of the road to the coast and drive for 28 kilometers. The Prefecture of Guayas intervened 11 km road with stone material, up to the interprovincial limit. The people from the Juntas can't wait until their road is paved, as the Prefecture of Santa Elena did in its leg.


Source: eluniverso.com

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