Yesterday, in Guayaquil and in Vinces, the Government presented simultaneously the aid plan for those affected by the rains. Although the project was well seen, farmers believe that financing should be channeled, according to the needs of each sector of the agricultural sector.
The chairman of the board of BanEcuador, Jorge Wated, reported that so far the State has delivered $ 4.2 million for the benefit of 467 producers, traders and affected by the winter season. The aid that is now announced, he said, is to offer facilities to obtain loans with rates of up to 8.9%, well below what is generally paid (between 11% and 15%). The conditions that begin to apply from this month, will govern until the winter emergency in Guayas, Manabi, Santo Domingo, El Oro, Esmeraldas and Los Rios.
The National Financial Corporation (CFN), on the other hand, will base its plan on four support axes: new credits for reactivation, refinancing for current operations with better conditions, suspension of dividend payments during the affectation and refinancing of liabilities in the financial system. The payment terms are up to 5 years for working capital and up to 15 years in infrastructure and machinery. Grace period and an interest rate of 7.5% is contemplated.
According to the figures of Risk Management until March 26, more than 25,000 hectares of crops were affected by the rains and another 7,000 were lost. One of the harmed crops is cocoa. Francisco Miranda, president of the National Association of Cocoa Exporters, told Diario EXPRESO that in a preliminary report he estimates that the immediate impact on the sector is a 5% loss of production. He explained that the cocoa plant can be up to 10 days in water, therefore, you still cannot know how many are lost and therefore it is required to plant a new one.
Regarding the financing offered by the Government, he indicated that it is positive, but that the lines of credit must be adapted to the needs of agriculture, something that is not being applied in his sector. “Cocoa is a long-term investment and although the rate is lower than in private banking is useful for short-term crops, it is necessary to focus a special plan for cocoa.”
The guild of farmers, of the II Zone, also sees positive disposition. “There is no more expensive money, than there is not,” said President Kléber Sigüenza. He added that the term to pay the credits are fine, but the rate should be around 5%. Although a rate of 7.5% in the CFN is low, it means a weight for the small farmer, since the profit margins are now very low. “For small producers, the government should make an additional effort,” said Sigüenza.
According to the Chamber, the crop most affected by the rains, from the economic point of view, is the banana. There is more than $ 120 million in lost production, this is equivalent to more than 15 million boxes of bananas that are going to stop exporting. “There are 5,000 hectares with partial losses and 5,000 with total losses.”
In other crops such as cassava, cocoa, sugar cane, etc. a loss of $ 80 million is estimated, “for this reason, the immediate delivery of the loan is good, but the aid must be refined, each sector studied and given what it needs”.
Appointment in Guayaquil and Vinces
In Guayaquil, the authorities that reported the aid plan were Vice President Otto Sonnenholzner, together with the Minister of Agriculture and Livestock, Xavier Lazo; the president of BanEcuador Jorge Wated and the president of the National Financial Corporation, Juan Carlos Jácome. While in Vinces was the president Lenin Moreno.
In the San Vicente precinct of the Parish Balzar de Vinces, the first president gave symbolic credits to three inhabitants of the sector, who a week ago were sleeping in tents, because their houses were flooded by the rains.
Melba Flores was one of the beneficiaries of the SOS loan. She received $ 5,000 that she will start paying within a year, with a rate of 8.9%. (I)