The sugarcane growers turned to the streets of Milagro to, once again, indicate to the authorities that only the mills of the Sierra have complied with the payment of the harvest, but those of the Coast, not all are up to date.
“Not all have honored the commitment to cancel the harvest in 30 days, as mandated by the resolution of the Ministry of Agriculture,” claimed the producers.
Orlando Zambrano, cañicultor and former president of the National Union of Cañicultores of Ecuador, told Diario EXPRESO that the problem has been going on for several months. When four months of non-payment of sugar mills were completed, the authorities were notified.
Based on this, certain companies paid a part, “but to date the total has not been canceled”.
The producers, in desperation to pay day laborers and some to the banks for credit obtained, are selling the invoices to the financial sector. But for this they pay a percentage.
For Zambrano it is unfair that the producer has to lose more money by having to pay a percentage to cash the bill, many have for more than four months waiting for the debt to be canceled.
In November of last year, Diario EXPRESO toured some farms of sugar cane. That is, about two months ago there was seen that planting already had consequences that the sugarcane farmers had not received the payment on time.
March. In Milagro, the sugarcane farmers marched to ask the authorities to intervene so that they pay them all the cane sugar sold to the mills.
Zambrano explained that from November to date the problem has worsened, especially for the small farmer. Because once the cane is cut it must be immediately invested in supplies to take care of the new pest plant and so that it can nourish well and grow healthy.
“But without money how can the small farmer do that. The situation is unsustainable and that is why we are also going to make a peaceful march in Guayaquil. The authorities must act quickly, “he said.
The sugarcane farmers indicated that in December they met with the authorities and it was suggested that the mills receive a credit through the National Finance Corporation (CFN) so that they can cancel the whole harvest.
They added that they understand that it takes a process. But they ask that the time be shortened because the economic impact for them is great. Although the mills pay interest for the delay, the reseeding is already affected.
For a group of producers there is no reason for the industry to remain behind in payments, “because in 2018 it was possible to sell more sugar than in 2017.”
However, in a past interview, Miguel Perez, president of the National Sugar Federation, explained that the industry is still trying to recover from the economic losses caused by the immeasurable sugar income from Colombia, a fact that did not allow everyone to evacuate. Properly, the production reached in the last harvest and, in many cases, caused the product to be sold at ridiculous prices. In its highest peaks, according to Fenazucar, the income of the Colombian product came to represent 15% of national production.
Gómez mentioned that this oversupply caused a mill to register 10% less in sales, and that these poor results had an impact on the entire production chain, which is mainly made up of sugarcane growers and suppliers of inputs and services.
It is expected that this week the authorities of the Ministry of Agriculture will agree to meet again with the sugarcane growers. (I)