Representatives of the banana producing sector unionized in the National Federation of Banana Producers of Ecuador (Fenabe) denied this Monday that they had reached an agreement to maintain the minimum support price of the banana box at $ 6.25, officially announced days ago by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock, and they assure that they signed a different act than the one deliberated in the last Advisory Council.
According to the Ministry, the agreement was finalized during the Consultative Council Banana Price Agreement Table that took place last Friday and lasted about two and a half hours.
William Ramón, representative of the Guayas producers, says that he signed the document believing that it was the one that had been defined during the meeting, but that when it was sent to him by WhatsApp it was a different one.
“There was no more debate, no more topics and the minutes began to be written, on a screen what each producer said was verified and it was changed (…), we ended the meeting with thanks and when we had to sign … They gave me a single sheet, I asked for the content of the minutes, and they told me it’s the same one that was seen on the screen, I signed it and it was similar to an attendance sheet”, he mentions.
“We ask all those who have done the coverage to give us the right to reply, because anomalous situations like these cannot continue to be tolerated in this country,” he added.
The producers are now asking for a meeting with President Guillermo Lasso to inform him of the situation, which they consider “a hoax” and say that in view of the fact that there is not yet a definitive agreement on the price for the following year, it should be Minister Pedro Álava, head of the Agriculture and Livestock portfolio, who defines it.
He assures that the producer sector asks to consider production costs and that he proposed that the value of the banana box be $ 7.19. He also questions that his speech on Friday was not “six lines” as it appears in the signed minutes.
“Our request as a province of Guayas is at a cost of $ 6 and a price of $ 7.19. Because if we reach a point of equilibrium where income and expenses are tied, there must be a reasonable profit percentage”, he pointed out.
Ramón mentions that there were only four representatives of the union at the meeting and that none of the province of Los Ríos attended and that the request for the ratification of the price of $ 6.25 was requested by the exporters.
The producer, who assures that he has participated several times in advisory councils, stressed that this is the first time that the situation has been handled in this way and that in the absence of an agreement, the undersecretary of the portfolio had to ask the attendees to dialogue until reach a consensus.
The producers present say that the meeting was of very short duration compared to those held in previous years.
Last Sunday, Minister Álava said that he found this fixing of the price of the fruit “incredible”. He said that the competitiveness with the Central American countries, to place bananas in Europe, has not allowed the value to rise.
“And I thank the gentlemen who participated in this fixation because at the time that neighboring countries, Central American, banana producers had known that the official price box went up, they lowered it because they act very free of the market,” he said. .
The table was held at the Undersecretary of Musáceas Strengthening in the Zonal Government, in Guayaquil. (I)