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Ecuador - Sangay volcano's volcanic ash affects 55,000 hectares of bananas

The volcanic ash spewed out by the eruption of the Sangay volcano in the early hours of Sunday, September 20, has affected thousands of hectares of the country’s fruit and vegetable crops. The event has affected 55,000 hectares of banana crops, especially in the provinces of Guayas and Los Rios.

According to the banana cluster, 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, cluster 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. In this process, 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.

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