Ecuador government supports small farmer marketing efforts
Ecuador’s Ministry of Agriculture has established a marketing arm for small farmer produced bananas which now exports 70 000 boxes of fruit per week. Growers are paid the official minimum price and receive payments much more quickly than with most conventional exporters. The government’s Banana Trade Unit is also purchasing bananas from small farmers in El Oro province to supply the national procurement programme ProAlimentos that provides fresh fruit for schools and other public institutions. This programme is organised by Banavid, a coordinating body of small farmers’ organisations that includes organic growers and is led by the Machala-based UROCAL.
“We started selling our first boxes to the public company UNA because we believed in the project. In 2014 we were selling 200 boxes a week; now we are selling 22 000 per week” reported Manuel Sanchez, manager of the Pajonal Banana Cooperative.
Leticia Calle, president of the New Life Small Farmers’ Association, highlighted the importance of fair prices and punctual payments. Edison Andrade, manager of the Banana Trade Unit, underlined the importance of insisiting on high quality:
“This is what has allowed us to develop the operation so rapidly”
The national company is keen to link up with buyers who are interested in supporting small farmers.
Source: MAGAP, Ecuador.