In a sign of the economic times and the frustration with commodity prices, rice farmers from different towns in Guayas protested Monday morning on various roads in the province.
The farmers were demanding the attention of the national government to various requests such as fixing the price of the sack of rice ($35) and strengthening controls on the entry of rice into Ecuador from neighboring countries.
The closures were recorded in the early hours of the morning on the road to Daule, near Petrillo; at the round-about near the river; at Daule’s T-intersection; and at the round-about in Samborondón. Other points were added on the roads of the province later on in the day. Personnel from the Ecuadorian Transit Commission (CTE) coordinated the diversion of motor vehicles by alternative routes.
On the road to Samborondón, in the Puente Alterno Norte (PAN) sector, heavy machinery was located. At other points, mounds of earth, tires, stones and heavy machinery were placed.
From the operations room of ECU911 Samborondón, the Governor of Guayas, Vicente Taiano, pointed out that the solution to the problems that afflict farmers is not to block roads but to seek dialogue with representatives of the ministries of Agriculture and Livestock and the Government so that a “reasonable” price be set for a sack of rice.
He added that the controls will be intensified in reference to the smuggling of rice from other countries.
Talks being held
Several hours after closing the road to Daule, Richard Intriago, leader of the National Peasant Movement, received a call on Monday to meet at noon in the Government of Guayas with a delegate from the Government ministry.
After the call, the protest participants agreed with the Police to clear the roads in exchange for the release of two workers detained during the day.
The detainees returned with their companions and around 10:30 am they allowed the vehicles to pass but did not leave the road.
Intriago clarified that the strike is nationwide not only in the Guayas province, and that if President Guillermo Lasso does not fulfill his offer to stabilize the price of rice, they would not hesitate to close the main roads.
At noon, representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock held a meeting in the Guayas Governorate with the rice producers to draw up a roadmap regarding their needs with “medium and long-term actions.”