Ecuador’s nationwide general strike has hit produce commodities hard.
After 16 days of demonstrations and stoppage (as of June 28), the nonoil export sector accumulated $85 million in losses; 86 percent of the impact was concentrated on the flower, banana, and broccoli industries, reports Ecuador Times.
During this period, floriculture lost $34.7 million; bananas lost $32 million; broccoli, $6.1 million; pitahaya, $1.2 million; and granadilla, $221,000, according to the Ecuadorian Federation of Exporters (Fedexpor).
Because of roadblocks in the provinces of Los Ríos, Cotopaxi, and Guayas, some 500 containers of bananas run the risk of not being exported per day.
The protests started in rural Ecuador in mid-June, when “the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador, or Conaie, announced a strike and issued a list of demands, including a cut in fuel prices, price controls on some agricultural goods and more spending on education,” reports The New York Times.
Strikes have included roadblocks in many areas, which have prevented produce and other commodities from reaching ports.
“We want the road closures to stop, not tomorrow, today. Today the companies do not resist one more day. . . . Ecuador is raised by working more, producing more and exporting more, from the export sector we are very concerned about this situation,” said Fedexpor president Felipe Ribadeneira.
The strike shows how hard the pandemic and inflation have hit the South American nation, 32 percent of whom live on less than $3 a day.
The nation’s president, Guillermo Lasso, said that the price of fuel “has become the cornerstone that maintains the conflict.”
Fedexpor has asked the government to declare a national state of emergency to deal with the strike.
In 2021, Ecuador’s non-mining, non-oil exports totaled $15.98 billion. During the first quarter of 2022, the value exported increased by 27 percent. The current strike will slow down the recovery that some products in the export sector had been registering, according to Fedexpor.