Alvaro Noboa organized a press conference on July 16th 2012. The political leader warned the Chief of State and all Ecuadorians about the non payment of the official banana box price. These irregularities will lead the Ecuadorian banana industry to fall into an economical crisis.
On Saturday, the Chief of State in his regular weekly speech said he would face the banana crisis and among other things, he would require the payment of the minimum price of bananas. However, you journalists today Monday, the same Head of State and Minister of Agriculture, can call a large number of exporters in El Oro province, where mainly, openly and without caring about the decision of the Head of State offer to pay for the fruit $ 2.00 or $ 2.50.
I ask the Chief of State and Minister of Agriculture, to send inspectors to Bonita, Del Monte, Chiquita, Dole, which are major exporters, as I believe they are paying the official price and I also ask them to send those same inspectors and give a call to managers of Derby, Banafruit, Anti Don, do it today or tomorrow, and you will realize what price they are paying.
The official price is $5.50, the price they are paying is $ 2.00 or $ 2.50. A box of bananas usually has 100 fingers or banana for each finger, if these exporters pay the official price, it would cost 3 cents more to the consumer. Despite the reduction in consumption, there would be no reduction to pay the official price that represents only 3 cents per banana finger.
What is left is that the producers finally, instead of receiving charity for spraying or fertilizer, would receive $ 5.50 and with that money they could pay fertilization and spraying. I said 2 weeks ago that in 10 weeks haciendas would be falling, farms would be closing and we already see signs of it at this time. And it will be even worse and is irreversible. Once a plantation dies after 10 weeks because of sigatoka due to lack of fertilization, the only thing left is to fire employees and cause the higher unemployment nationwide in the recent banana industry history.
In short, it is important that the Chief of State to enforce the law, the Minister of Agriculture to enforce the law and to call Dole, Chiquita, El Monte … and among those they will find who are paying the official price and who are not. And pay the official price, represents only 3 cents more per finger box. And Ecuador is the rate that puts the banana in the world because it is the largest producer of bananas in the world and as OPEC regulates oil prices, Ecuador could easily influence the price of bananas and save this industry and save the banana producers.
QUESTIONS FROM THE PRESS
Press: Mr. Noboa, after the Saturday broadcast of the President of Ecuador, there was the rumored that the Minister of Agriculture would probably leave his post. Does the industry is consistent with the current minister?
Álvaro Noboa: I don’t Know.
Press: On the issue of black sigatoka, How many hectares are being affected?
Álvaro Noboa: that’s like an epidemic, to begin the Black Sigatoka is like AIDS, it cannot be cured, it can only be controled. Ecuador has sigatoka, but if you do not spray all of it, the disease that is already there, emerges and becomes epidemic.
Press: And this has happened precisely because they had no money to spray? Is this all about?
Álvaro Noboa: Yes, then what for does it serves that the Minister of Agriculture offers with very good intensions to spray small farmer, when there are 250 million cases of which over half are not being sprayed, it is impossible with 5 million dollars to solve that problem, however with a phone call is easy to solve that problem.
Press: What evidence do you have of the crisis in the banana industry? You said in 2 weeks, it means there are missing 8 to meet the 10, you stated that there would be a crisis, what evidences are there to say that there are some banana companies affected?
Álvaro Noboa: You journalists affected in the agricultural area can go to the field, first to see that there are already fields that are being affected, the second is for the first time placing ads in newspapers for sale estates, third there is a cultivation conversion program that is already being used.
Press: Are they migrating?
Álvaro Noboa: But what amazes me is the disrespect for the decision made by the Head of State, Economist Rafael Correa. And it also amazes me that we big exporters are checked every detail that we do in order to make us exactly fulfill what the law says, but medium and small exporters, that now represent 50% of exports, are not checked. It seems that there is something weird in here that must be found out.
Press: Mr. Noboa in the political issue, how is the PRIAN party doing for the upcoming elections?
Álvaro Noboa: It is strong, it is solid, and it will win the upcoming elections.
Press: Mr. Noboa, What do you think on the National Electoral Council that claims to consider as campaign expenses the appearance of politicians in the media?
Álvaro Noboa: There is no law about it. And while there is no law, because we are not campaign period, people cannot break the law whenever you want to appear on television, radio, print, or any other media.
Press: As you showed yourself in a TV channel … you can do without any problems. That means that you should not be charged by the CNE?
Álvaro Noboa: There is no law at the time, and laws are not retroactive. The day that they get a bill from that time it will run. But there is a law that says that since the election campaign, it will be charged all campaign expenses. And I have understood that the campaign starts in October. I fulfill the law strictly. I cannot afford to not complying with the law. For indeed, if I am a man with a great career of service to the country, I have to set a good example.
Press: PRIAN will be present in the primaries?
Álvaro Noboa: Yes, and I think I’ll win the primary.
Press: Are there any dates for the primaries?
Álvaro Noboa: No, there is no date yet. There is no law at the time, and laws are not retroactive. The day that they put a bill from the time it will run. But there is a law that says that since the election campaign, will be charged all campaign expenses. And I have understood that the campaign starts for the month of October. I fulfill the law strictly. I cannot afford to not complying with the law. For indeed, if I am a man with a great career of service to the country, I have to set a good example.
Álvaro Noboa: I want to emphasize that oil issues are covered by the media every day, they cover everyday news that has to do with oil. Banana is the second largest export product of Ecuador. The most important of all, it is the largest employer in the country. Therefore, I urge journalists to cover the banana issue with equal or greater importance covering the oil issue. Because the moment you have a banana crisis, it will not only be an economic crisis but unemployment crisis. Thank you.