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Cubans living in US drive demand for Ecuador's cassava exports

The cassava harvest season started in Ecuador with strong demand from the US market driven by Cubans, says David Velez, sales manager of Ecuadorian exporter Roses & Fresh Fruits by Ayelen Living Memories. “The demand is regular but there is a market like the United States that has more Cuban communities that consume more of this product.”

He says they export the cassava not just in the US but to countries that have protocols such as France, Spain, Holland and several others. “Our cassava comes out with paraffin in boxes of 15 kilos in net weight. The waxing keeps it fresh and healthy until its destination so that it can be consumed in its natural state. It is not frozen as they usually but kept fresh in this way to retain all the healthy properties of the food.”

Velez says the price varies according to the harvest that can be done at the time the client requests it. “The cassava box is around $15 dollars for 35 pounds per box. The price varies each week depending on the demand, each shipment contains 1,540 boxes per 40-foot container.”

Ecuador’s cassava harvest lasts from November to January and is highly dependent on the weather with the volumes harvested that vary widely says Velez. “Depending on the weather factor and as we are facing the threat of the El Niño phenomenon, we do not know what the harvest will be like this year. The figures really vary, we do not have a statistic that can be marked for the export of this tuber since 300 tons can be harvested per harvest if the production is of good quality, otherwise it is used to make cassava flour and other derivatives or to local consumption.”

Velez says one of the industry’s biggest challenges is the low prices consumers are often paying, which is not financially viable. “The challenges are that customers sometimes do not appreciate the work of farmers and want to pay prices that do not reward production costs, but they demand quality and do not realize the investment that is made to be able to provide a quality product.”

For more information:
David Velez
Roses & Fresh Fruits by Ayelen Living Memories
Tel: +593 99 637 1030
E-mail: [email protected]