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The protests will be "a wake-up call" for the Ecuadorian government to expedite the dialogues with the farmers and improve their working conditions.
On Monday, 8,000 Ecuadorian banana, rice, and sugarcane producers began an indefinite national strike because of the disrespect to the minimum support price and other President Guillermo Lasso’s government non-compliances in agricultural matters.
Since coming to power in May, Lasso has ignored the agreements signed on the minimum support prices for agricultural products and the cost control of the inputs in the farm field. As a result, the price of a rice sack has decreased from about US$29 to US$22 amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ecuador's Montubia Agricultural Association classified this governmental non-compliance as an unfair act. It stated that the mass protests would be "a wake-up call" for the Ecuadorian government to expedite the dialogues with the farmers and improve their working conditions.
Besides the minimum support price, farmers are also protesting to reopen the National Storage Unit (UNA) and forgiveness of small and medium-sized farmers' debts. They also request that the State supply them with fertilizer inputs of about US$12.
The National Corporation of Rice Producers stressed that they would remain a peaceful protest, despite President Lasso Friday warning he would lock up indefinitely those citizens who try to paralyze the country.
This is the first strike against the Government of Guillermo Lasso, who in his presidential campaign called for the country’s unity to overcome a tremendous economic and health crisis.
Only in 2020, Ecuador registered 23,793 coronavirus-related deaths, and so far, the country has reported 468,346 COVID-19 cases.