LatinNews Daily - 12 April 2022

In brief: Ecuadorean banana producers block roads in protest at low prices

* Banana producers have blocked key roads in three provinces in Ecuador, demanding that the government led by President Guillermo Lasso take action to raise the price of their goods. Highways were blocked in the provinces of Guayas, El Oro, and Los Ríos, with protesters arguing that rising production costs need to be reflected by a hike in the official fixed price of bananas, which is currently set at US$6.25 per 18kg crate. Banana producers have also been impacted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, given that prior to the war Russia was the sector’s second-largest export market, behind only the European Union. Ecuador’s federation of exporters (Fedexpor) warned in late March that the Russian export market had dramatically shrunk due to difficulties in processing payments, estimating that the conflict is costing Ecuadorean exporters US$2.5m per week. With banana production accounting for the largest share of employment in Ecuador’s agricultural sector, there is potential for the protests to spread to other areas of the country.

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