After the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global pandemic for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) on March 11th governments and civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean started to implement preventive measures to stop the spread of the virus.
Ecuador´s government declared a health emergency for 60 days to prevent a massive spread of the virus and the country´s Ministry of Agriculture created a prevention protocol for the agricultural sector and for the banana producing areas, that has the objective to minimize the spread of the virus amongst the personnel that works in the fields, and in the processing and packing plants.
In the middle of the crisis, solidarity and hope have surged in a human chain that has as priority not only to keep healthy, but also to help others. With this vision, the Ecuadoran Fairtrade Coordinator along with the Banana network in Ecuador, besides abiding with the security protocol for the production, is also making different actions such as donations of bananas to the most vulnerable population, working with local authorities, forming a solidarity chain with Fairtrade Producers.
“We have taken the initiative to try to help the government that perhaps is not prepared and doesn´t have the resources of other nations, trying to bring bananas to different neighborhoods, mainly to the most affected people that live day by day and can not go out of their houses to work”, says Patricio San Martín, manager at Asociacion de Bananeros Orenses.
“Now we know the lesson that Fair Trade was created for, to help others, to be responsible with the environment and for many other things human beings have to change. In other words: To help each other and to take care of the environment!”
This initiative also wants producers and workers to have assistance in case they become ill in the area in which they are located. Therefore, making use of the Fairtrade Premium they are joining efforts to buy equipment and treat the illness such as kits for coronavirus tests, nebulizers, respirators, masks, gloves; cleaning supplies such as disinfectants; and to buy groceries for small producers in the area.