Ecuador: government brings in environmental licensing

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The Ecuadorian government has announced that all banana producers will now be required to obtain an environmental licence.

The measure is designed to improve agricultural practices from aerial spraying to waste water management. Each farm over 20 hectares is now required to develop a specific environmental plan that is approved by the Environment Ministry. Producers with less than 20 hectares will also have to fill in a form indicating their current practices.

Environment Minister Marcela Aguiñaga announced an industry-wide campaign to promote these new Environmental Management Plans following approval of the measure on 9th June. All aerial operators will also be required to obtain licences because of the hazardous nature of agrochemical use in areas in and around the plantations.

Antonio Chiriboga, a banana grower in El Oro province told reporters that he supported the measure, but hoped that this would not lead to unnecessary bureaucracy in its implementation: "It is good that importance is being given to environmental issues in agricultural plantations, especially concerning aerial spraying procedures".

The Exporters' Association AEBE expressed the hope that not everything in the Plans would be an absolute requirement

21 June 2011, Quito

Source: Diario Hoy, Quito, 21st June