The government of Rafael Correa promoted massive sowing of sugarcane with the promise of buying all the biofuel production. The mills got into the business with large investments. Today, that painted paradise is corroded.
Most of the sugarcane growers have seven months without receiving their payments from the mills and yesterday EXPRESS wanted to investigate the National Sugar Federation (Fenazúcar) did not get any response. Its president, Miguel Pérez, did not comment.
The biggest problem is for Guayas, the province with the largest area planted, with 82.3% of the 116,483 hectares planted in total.
José Vásquez Pacheco, has more than 30 years as a cañicultor, like his family, which together, have 300 hectares. It takes 7 months to receive promises of payment from Valdez and until last week, when this newspaper visited him in Puerto Inca, he was not yet paid for the cane he delivered in July of last year.
In a similar situation there are about 450 people who provide Valdez and a larger amount to the EQ2 mill of the Peruvian group Gloria.
“Before the mills got into biofuels, there were no such big problems; Now the pretext of the mills is the government’s non-purchase of alcohol. We asked the government to buy and renew this contract longer, “he says.
The lack of payment will cause the production of sugar to go down, since it has not been possible to make investments in the quarries, essential things in the 3 months after the harvest.
Ecuador increased investments in machinery for the production of biofuel for gasoline ecopaís, as well as the amount of hectares. This led to an increase in employment in areas of El Triunfo, La Troncal, Marcelino Maridueña, Milagro, Playas.
Although the Government encouraged the sowing of cane, on the other hand, it did not buy the amount of biofuel it had promised and the programmed increases. Just this month Petroecuador announced the largest purchase. Ecuador, due to costs, exports little sugar.
There are demands
The sugarcane growers are planning massive lawsuits that were previously tried against the mills for unpaid debts. Ecuador produced more than 9 million tons of cane in 2017. 60% is produced by independent growers. Each ton must pay $ 32, according to a decree.
Banks ask for accounts
The banks, including BanEcuador, have begun the process of seizing the goods of the sugarcane growers, who in turn have not been able to pay them for the failure of the mills. Some companies made payment agreements, but the one that is most up to date in them is San Carlos.
The growing surface
In Ecuador, according to data from 2017, 116,483 hectares of sugar cane are planted, compared to 104,558 hectares a year earlier. In total, more than 9 million tons were produced, 7.4 million of them in Guayas. (I)