Ecuador could nationalize banana exports
The Libyan crisis and a cold Russian winter have led to a depressed global banana market, with prices reaching around US$5.50 per carton. But on the other side of the world in Ecuador, farmers feel they have been cheated out of their share and the government plans to take action.
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa has announced his intention to nationalize the country's banana export industry, following complaints from farmers that exporters were avoiding contracts and fair prices, reported Prensa Latina.
In an address from the city of Quevedo, Correa said the government would intervene in the market to buy bananas at the standard international price, unlike many exporters who have been undercutting local farmers, the story reported.
"Small producers tell me there are exporters who don't want to sign contracts. Perfect, if they don't want to sign we won't demand that they sign, but they won't transport a single bunch if it's not under contract," he was quoted as saying.
He said reports showed some exporters told producers they would pay US$5.50 per carton, but instead chose not to buy cartons unless they were sold for US$3, Prensa Latina reported.
"We are on the side of the farmers and small producers. If we have to nationalize exports we will do it as partners, but enough of this shamelessness," Correa was quoted as saying.
Meanwhile, Ecuador's ambassador to Korea Nicolas Trujillo, has told The Korea Herald of plans to stimulate agricultural exports to the east Asian nation.
"One of my objectives is to create more direct connections between exporters in Ecuador that can meet and fulfill the need that Korea currently has, or we can identify and develop products that Korea may not be aware of, like Ecuador has excellent passion fruit," he was quoted as saying.
"We can more than compete on the cost basis but what we need to do is create awareness with the importers," he told the newspaper. "Once they are exposed to the quality, consistency, pricing structure and availability year-round of Ecuadorian products, we will then have an incredible opportunity to help reduce that tremendous trade deficit that Korea has with Ecuador."