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Thoughts on Ecuador

Most people have heard the term "Banana Republic" before. The terms carries many, mostly unfortunate, connotations. Unstable government, reliance on exporting on particular good, primary control over this sector by a cartel, and corruption.

One country in particular springs to my mind as the archetypal Banana Republic: Ecuador. Ecuador controls ca. 28 per cent of the worldwide Banana trade . Thirty percent of the labour force of Ecuador is spent on producing Bananas. Other important agricultural exports involve coffee and sugar cane. Unfortunately, the most recent number on exported tons of Banana I could get hold of are from 2000 when 3,993,968 metric tons of banana were exported from the country.

In the same year Ecuador had a positive trade balance, mainly not due to banana exports, but oil, which accounts for 50% of Ecuador's exports. This puts the understanding of Ecuador as a Banana Republic somewhat into perspective. However, 17% of the countries export are bananas.

The main products imported in 2000 involved consumer goods (15 per cent), food (7 per cent) and machinery and industrial supplies (60per cent) .

One question that came to my mind is: Does Ecuador slowly but surely export itself into the western world? At first this claim seems ridiculous but if you think about it but on a closer look this seems a reasonable question to ask. Photosynthesis as a project during which inorganic matter taken from the soil are transformed into organic matter, using the energy of the sun, is the basis of growing bananas. The matter of each banana is a product of the fortunate interaction of Ecuadorian soil and sun. Consequently, somewhat less than 3,993,968 metric tons of Ecuadorian soil were exported from the country.

One might say, that the overall weight of the imports outweigh the banana exports but do they really? The soil suffers from profound diffusion and ground machinery and industrial goods do not have the reputation of being magnificent fertilizers. So ho much Ecuador do you have in your organic waste bin? Why shouldn't we take an envelope and send the banana peel back to Ecuador?

If we don't take immediate action now, there will only be a big hole were Ecuador used to be and a every other country in the world will include a tiny fragment of a Banana Republic. Act now! Ask at where to send your banana peels.

There will still be the matter of the bananas you have eaten but still, you will have at least slowed down the process of deterioration.

2008-07-05 12:37:14