As the world’s number one banana exporter, Ecuador is on high alert for its vital crop as its neighbor Peru is grappling with an outbreak of a fungus deadly to that particular crop. Ecuador is sandwiched between two South American nations that have a presence of the incurable banana affliction, with the fungus first reaching Colombia in 2019.
According to banana producers from Los Rios, the cold weather that is still affecting several areas of the province, the torrential rains there are in the country, and the recent activity of the volcano have significantly lowered the supply of bananas, affecting the cost that exporters must pay for Ecuadorian fruit.
The eruption of Ecuador’s Sangay volcano resulted in an enormous amount of ash being spewed into the air and being scattered by the wind across 55,000 hectares of banana farms. “The main affected territories are Guayas and Los Rios,” says Juan Jose Pons, the coordinator of Ecuador’s banana cluster. “The ashes are affecting the bananas in the trees and the workers.”
On Sunday, September 20th, the Sangay volcano in Ecuador erupted. “The eruption mostly affected nearby cities and provinces that were in the direction of the wind. There was a 10 kilometers high cloud of ashes, and it came down to the coastal area where about 30-40% of Ecuador’s banana production occurs,” says Hugo Castro of GinaFruit.
Farmers have had to fight against diseases that affect different crops, such as Palm and Cogollo rot. Plantain, another of the products harvested in the province, has also been affected. Juan Carlos Robles, an Innovation Technician of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock in the province, said they were carrying out different trainings to improve the plantation and help production with organic fertilizers and better practices.
How do you protect an industry responsible for USD 100 million exports a year? That was the question Ecuador faced as it sought to protect its artisanal fishing industry. Swiss Re experts helped the government find an answer. Artisanal fishing involves using smaller fishing vessels and traditional techniques. There are around 54,000 artisanal fishermen in Ecuador, operating in a sector that is a major source of employment and food production.
Cotopaxi in Ecuador continues to rumble after its first eruption in 70 years earlier this month. Over the last week, the volcano has been emitting almost constant steam-and-ash plumes punctuated by small explosions—all signs that magma is rising into the volcano. The steam-and-ash plumes have mostly been 1-2 kilometers in height and rangers in the National Park surrounding the volcano have reported a few millimeters of fine ash fall.
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