Less than a month after being detected in Peru, on April 7, the Fusarium Race 4 once again put the region on alert, this time due to an unconfirmed alarm of the presence of the fungus in Venezuela .
This was indicated by Kléber Sigüenza, director of the Chamber of Agriculture of the Second Zone of Ecuador, this Tuesday, during a virtual conversation between the banana cluster and the media, where the current situation of the sector and the challenges for it were also addressed. year, topics that were also covered in the Banana Day event .
Juan José Pons, coordinator of the banana cluster, highlighted that 538 people from 38 countries connected to the Banana Day program, where topics consistent with the importance of the Latin American banana industry and specifically Ecuador were broadcast, and the threat also had a chapter of Fusarium Race 4 and the actions taken to prevent it.
“The national protection plan for the control of Fusarium is of vital importance for the sector today, we already have a presence in Peru and more than a year ago it was confirmed in Colombia, that it did a very good job of containment and hopefully Peru can do it efficiently; we have an alert in Venezuela, “said the leader, who warned that it is not confirmed and” we cannot make further speculations about it. “
The pest was first detected on the continent in August 2019 in northern Colombia.
For its part, the Agency for the Regulation and Control of Phytosanitary and Zoosanitary (Agrocalidad) has not issued information on the alleged presence of the fungus in Venezuela.
Meanwhile, Richard Salazar, president of the Banana Marketing and Export Association (Acorbanec), highlighted the challenge posed by the threat of Fusarium Race 4 to the country, which in 2020 exported 380 million boxes of the fruit to more than 60 countries, generating foreign exchange for $ 3,560 million and 65% of the port movement of the country.
Salazar added that these results were due to the resilience and union of the banana sector despite adverse situations that occurred during 2020, such as the impact of COVID-19, with which the sector was affected with logistical problems, on farms, container parks, ports, and in destination markets due to the closure of borders, especially in the Middle East and Russia, added to the drop in the price of oil and the change in purchasing conditions.
José Antonio Hidalgo, president of the Ecuadorian Association of Banana Exporters (AEBE), indicated that in the first quarter of the year 104 million boxes have been exported, that is, 3.8% less than in 2020 when they left for that date 108 million boxes.
For this reason, Hidalgo indicated that Ecuador’s approach should aim to build a more solid relationship with the East and reach agreements with Japan, South Korea and China, as he highlighted, for example, that in the latter they consume around 60 kilos per capita of banana and 60% is imported fruit consumed by its middle class.
“We only contribute one kilo per capita to that market and we have a lot of work to do,” said Hidalgo, who believes that banana exports will grow 2.9% this year, although Sigüenza foresees a 3% drop in production, about 10 million of boxes due to climatic factors.
Meanwhile, domestically, Hidalgo insisted that tax pressure and excessive regulation should be reduced.
Meanwhile, Leonidas Estrada, president of the Regional Corporation of Ecuadorian Bananas (Agroban), referred to the changes expected by the banana industry with the entry of the new Government.
Among these changes, he cited reforms in social and labor security, but warned that these must take into account two realities of the sector so as not to be disadvantaged: globalization and competitiveness.
One of these modifications would be focused on the single tax for the banana sector, since they would be talking to make it optional to give modernity to the banana management.
Regarding water resources, Estrada assured that there are obsolete laws and they must be brought down to quantifiable realities, according to what the producer invests. “We hope that the new government takes these realities into consideration,” said the leader. (I)