Ecuador volcano eruption hits banana plantations -

Ecuadorian volcano eruption hits thousands of hectares of banana plantations

The volcanic ash resulting from the eruption of the Sangay volcano on Sunday has affected thousands of hectares of the country's fruit and vegetable crops, local website El reported.

The event has affected 55,000 hectares of banana crops, especially in the provinces of Guayas and Los Rios.

According to the Banana Exporters' Association, made up of four producing and exporting organizations, this area's production accounts for 25% to 30% of the fruit that is exported to the world on a weekly basis, equivalent to 1.5 million boxes of fruit.

Juan Jose Pons, the organization's coordinator, said that the most affected banana areas were Naranjito and El Triunfo in Guayas, and Mata de Cacao (Babahoyo) in Los Rios, among others.

Faced with the emergency, the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MAG) established guidelines that must be followed in the field.

The first guideline is that the fruit should be harvested with the ladder system where ash has fallen. The bunch must be cut first and no type of leaf should be cut. In addition, producers must avoid touching and tearing the plants being harvested at that time.

Other recommendations include avoiding watering the bunches on harvest day, not using pumps or motor-driven pumps to clean the crop, and washing the protectors well to protect the bunch.