The banana export sector hopes as soon as possible for the price of the banana box to be made official by 2022 and assures that it does not want to enter into controversies with the producers of the fruit, who insist that they were deceived into signing an agreement so that the box continues, in 2022, with the current price of $ 6.25.
It is an agreement endorsed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG), which producers and exporters would have reached last Friday, after a negotiation table of the Banana Advisory Council, in Guayaquil.
The export sector reached the negotiations with the proposal to maintain the current price. Instead, producers were looking for the price to rise to $ 7.50.
In the end, as made official by the MAG, consensus was reached with the exporters’ proposal. However, before the Ministry officializes the result and from that same Friday afternoon there was confusion, since the National Federation of Banana Producers of Ecuador (Fenabe), through its president, Franklin Torres, assured that there was no agreement, citing to the delegate of his organization, William Ramón, who insisted that no treaty had been signed.
On Saturday, the Ministry issued the official document ratifying the agreement between producers and exporters, while Fenabe insisted that there was no agreement; and this Monday at a press conference, Ramón, representative of the Guayas producers, acknowledged that he signed the document, but believing that it was the one that had been defined during the appointment, and that when it was sent to him by WhatsApp he realized that it was a different one.
“There was no more debate or 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 delivered a single sheet, I asked for the content of the minutes and they told me it is the same that was seen on the screen, I signed it and it was similar to an attendance sheet, ”said Ramón, who maintained that the producers’ proposal is that the price go up to at least $ 7.19, and they will seek to be received by the President of the Republic, Guillermo Lasso, to discuss the issue.
Meanwhile, Richard Salazar, representative of the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), described the position of the producers as ‘surprising’ and pointed out that the sector expects the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Pedro Álava, to set the price that it was agreed at the appointment.
“We do not want to enter into controversies about what that group of producers are mentioning, the truth has been a bit surprising, beyond that we are not going to argue about the agreement or not, there is a document that the Ministry of Agriculture and we do not have to doubt the Ministry. However, without distinction, the meeting has already taken place and the minister has seven days, from that meeting, to set the price of the box of bananas,” said Salazar, who pointed out that exporters need to sign contracts with international markets.
For his part, Juan José Hidalgo, executive director of the Association of Banana Exporters of Ecuador (AEBE), when consulted by this newspaper about the position of the producer sector, said: “We support what was stated by the minister. The agreement must be respected”.
Hidalgo referred to the statements of Minister Álava, who described the result of the meeting, that is, the agreement, as “incredible.” He also thanked those who participated in setting the price, which according to Álava will give Ecuadorian bananas competitiveness against other producing countries, especially those of Central America. (I)