Zacarías de la Rosa rents his motor-cultivators at $ 55 so that farmer colleagues from Samborondón can plow one block of land, a little less than one hectare (10,000 square meters) of land for rice planting.
He says that for his three “tantrums” could well charge between $ 70 and $ 80 for each, but says he does not ask for more because he is aware of the low price of the grass, irregular situation that remains for almost two years, remarks.
The support price for the 200 pound shell rice is $ 35.5 if the product registers 20% moisture and 5% impurities. It is established by the Ministry of Agriculture through an agreement of May 2016, but producers of Samborondón, Daule and Salitre indicate that these days they offer between $ 22 and $ 26 in batteries in the area.
“Everyone agrees,” speculates a rice-grower close to Zacarias, who only identifies with his surname, Mieles. He criticizes the argument of “some black grain” to justify the reduced payment and ensures that his employer reaped 80 blocks with the negative balance of $ 400.
He adds that even the rice fields receive sacks of paddy rice with about 20 pounds of surplus in weight.
They and other samborondeños maintain that in the production of the grain they work at a loss, but if so, why do they continue in the trade? “We are hoping that prices will improve in three months’ time (harvest time),” they reply.
In the Los Quemados site, Daule canton, with muddy water at the knee and with the same desire for a better price, members of the Quinto family are ready for the lechuguines. This is what they call rice plants ready to be nailed in a pool spice, where the grass can be harvested in three months, during which time the planting is applied to the plant and the plant is fumigated.
“I spent $ 80 on two makeshifts, and they paid us $ 21 for the rice; and the payment that costs $ 28, is more expensive than rice! “, states one of the Fifth, as an incentive says that the land is familiar, so they do not pay rent as it happens as other rice farmers.
Within the policies to improve the profitability of producers, the Ministry of Agriculture dispatches rice to Colombia. On December 13, when a cargo was leaving by sea, the State portfolio indicated that they had planned to complete 46,200 tons.
The Government also has the National Storage Unit (UNA), with infrastructure in different points to buy rice production at the official price.
However, due to the low prices, farmers from the Bodeguita, San Nicolás and Salitre enclosures choose to store their paddy rice while waiting for better prices, even some growers, tired of going through piles, decide not to sell and rather consume the harvest.
Although the recent rains, which have affected the asphalt on the Salitre-General Vernaza highway, motivate the farmers to hurry to prepare the land. In El Rosario (Samborondón), José Cercado regrets that “the water has been advanced” and the machinery cannot enter their lands. For this reason, the harvesting work is done these days by hand. Cutting the plants with a machete.
“They pay $ 22 for the sack,” says the Samborondeño man, who says he chose between receiving that money and leaving his rice in the plant.
The demand for better rice prices has led farmers to close the roads, even the blockades have been simultaneous in cantons Daule, Nobol and Salitre.
The producers argue that the low price situation has prevented them from fulfilling their bank loans. Others regret not being able to return the money loaned to private citizens and be subject to high interest payments. (I)