Ecuadorian banana growers applaud ag minister's resignation

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Ecuadorian banana growers applaud ag minister's resignation

Ecuadorian banana industry representatives have labeled the resignation of agricultural minister Staynley Vera as "timely and successful", website reported.

The minister resigned at the request of president Rafael Correa, with growers saying the decision was likely driven by Vera's poor implementation of banana sector formalization measures.

Naranjal Banana Producers Association president William Ramón told the website Vera lacked good decision-making in handling banana prices, which led to chaos in the market and prices reaching US$11 outside of contracts.

"I think that whoever does not enforce the rules and regulations in the case of bananas cannot hold a ministerial post, he (Vera) has not shown respect and that has caused a collapse in the sector.

Jorge Toapanta from the Orenses Banana Growers Association, said that Vera should have conducted affairs such that all exporters needed to present a signed contract with the importer in order to qualify for shipments, so that volumes could be assured throughout the year.

"The minister's work served to worsen the banana growing situation instead of improving it. Just look at the tragic results that were brought with the banana emergency declaration, which functioned as a smokescreen for speculating exporters that disrespected banana contracts.

Vera has been replaced by former coordinating minister of Production, Employment and Competitiveness Santiago Leon.

U.S. trade office closure

In other Ecuadorian news, the U.S. has decided to close its trade office in the country's capital of Quito on Mar. 26, the website reported.

Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce director Cristian Espinosa told the website the U.S. decided to close the office for budgetary reasons, as part of a wider move that will close other international trade offices including those in Tijuana, Mexico and Caracas, Venezuela.

The chamber found out about the measure from a brief sent by the U.S. Embassy, which also sought to promote the import of U.S. products and services in Ecuador., the story reported.

Espinosa told the website such a closure would "always have an effect" in productive areas, but he understands that the level of trade with Ecuador is not as extensive as with other Latin American countries such as Peru, Brazil and Colombia.

Ecuadorian-American Chamber of Commerce Guayaquil executive director María Antonieta Reyes, told the website the closure was "discouraging".

Photo: Presidencia de la Republica

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