Marco Ortiz used to sell bananas to Ecuador’s richest man, Alvaro Noboa, under the label Bonita.
– Noboa treated me bad. Sometimes he bought just 100 out of 400 boxes, and left me with the rest. He tried to eliminate small farmers.
For five years Ortiz had a contract with Noboa, but five years ago he joined Asoguabo.
– Now I have security. We are working with the same price all year, though that price isn’t so good right now. And together we are stronger! Otherwise the big companies would buy up all the small farmers and they would disappear.
Ortiz farm is seven hectares. But he wants to have three-five hectares more.
– I want to be able to fill the whole truck I rent for transporting the bananas to the harbour, because it’s expensive.
His farm is close to the Peruvian border, and it’s a long way to the port outside Machala.
The farm is somewhat inconveniently located in another respect too: the only way to get there is to cross a river with no bridge. When the water rises in winter, it’s impossible to cross by car. Then Ortiz uses the cableway that goes from the packing station to the other side.
– It has room for ten boxes of banana. If I have 200 boxes, I have to make 20 trips over the river.
But the risk only exists between january and april.
Ortiz lives in Pasaje, an hour away from the farm in Arenillas. He comes out to the farm three-four times a week.
In addition to banana, Ortiz grows oranges, cucumber and lemon that he sells in the city of Arenillas.