On the Portoviejo-Crucita road, near the Sosote community, commerce is still the activity that generates resources for its inhabitants. But the activities and trades have changed in this population belonging to the Rocafuerte canton since the beginning of the pandemic.
Sosote in much of Manabí (even the country) is known for the sale of blood sausages, sausages, coconut, making clay pots, wooden chairs and tagua handicrafts, but this last activity has declined with the passing of the months since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.
Jaqueline Román, who collaborates in the Karen tagua handicrafts store, pointed out that until before the pandemic there were about fifteen workshops for the sale of objects made with tagua, but now there are only four left.
He gave as an example that up to eight people worked in the local that he collaborated before, all from one family, but now only two work, so the rest of the staff chose to become a vegetable trader and those who bet along the Portoviejo road -Crucita, one of the routes that connect the capital of Manabí with populations in the north of Manabí.
The production of tagua-based handicrafts has not only lost sales in local Sosote, but also the export of animals from this product had a halt since the beginning of the pandemic , as acknowledged by Alba González, president of the Association of Exporters of Tagua del Ecuador (Asetagua).
González believes that 2020 exports in relation to previous years of the pandemic were reduced by 50% , and pointed out that as a result of the onset of COVID-19, in China and other Asian countries, as well as in Europeans, in whose workshops give added value to tagua animals to turn them into buttons, they closed their doors.
“These stores worldwide closed for several months, therefore consumption drastically decreased, once the markets have reopened, the interest of using tagua returns again as long as the international market and international activities normalize ”, declared the president of Asetagua.
González believes that support for this sector severely hit by the COVID-19 crisis should be promoted, emphasizing that it is a totally natural and biodegradable button that does not affect the environment, in addition to policies to strengthen the sector.
According to Mipro statistics in 2018, Ecuador exported 308 tons of tagua animals to the markets of China and Hong Kong, which represented income to the country for about 3 million dollars. In 2017, Ecuador exported 702 tons of tagua to several nations of the world, which meant about 6.5 million dollars. (I)