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Ecuador Stopped Exporting 5 Million Boxes of Bananas in the First Quarter

15.5.2020

The cluster that groups Acorbanec, Aebe, Agroban and the Chamber of Agriculture of the Second Zone informed that from January to March the banana sector lost $ 50 million when it stopped selling 5 million boxes of the fruit, not including the April figures. Juan José Pons, coordinator of the union, explains the situation of this productive segment in times of the COVID-19.

What is the current situation of banana production and exports with the affectation of the coronavirus pandemic?

Despite the obstacles generated by the pandemic, the banana industry has made a maximum effort to sustain production and exports, keeping employment and generating the foreign exchange that the country so desperately needs.

How are you handling the process of getting the fruit out of the country with the shipping companies?

We are working hand in hand with port operators, container yards, carriers, and shipping companies to make logistics work. There are absenteeism problems that complicate the operation and make costs more expensive. Despite these problems, exports remain at 80%, especially the fruit under contracts which is the formal part of the business.

What is the position of the cluster around the Humanitarian Law project that the National Assembly is discussing?

Two fundamental issues: no more taxes and labor reform that allows defending existing jobs and generating more jobs, especially now that absenteeism has been high due to the pandemic.

On April 21 you spoke at the Assembly about eliminating taxes. What is the proposal and the scope?

Agriculture generates jobs, food, and foreign exchange; it should not be punished but encouraged. Wanting to increase the tax burden by removing liquidity from agriculture and the productive sector in general is punishing employment, food and the generation of foreign exchange, today more than ever needed after the collapse of the oil industry.

What are the expectations for the rest of the year and 2021?

The recovery of all productive sectors will be determined by the measures taken. Today, if these go along the lines of the laws presented, it will be a disaster, if instead the country is restarted creating the conditions of a country free of obstacles, competitive and sustainable that generates employment -which is the solution to all social problems, and foreign exchange generation - to sustain the economy and to pay the social cost; then yes we will have a constructive path for the future.

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