Ecuador: Recent Flooding Causes Crop Losses in Major Coastal Farming Areas
Heavy rains on March 26, 2012 caused significant damage to croplands in the coastal provinces of Ecuador. According to the country’s National Security and Risk Management office, torrential rains and landslides have resulted in a loss of an estimated 34,000 hectares of crops. The largest losses have been in the provinces of Guayas, Los Ríos, El Oro, Manabí, Esmeraldas, and Loja. Two of the provinces, Guayas and Los Ríos, just declared in a state of emergency due to the recent rains according to the Minister for Coordination of Production, Santiago Leon.
Government officials have reported that disaster aid packages will go out to farmers in the region as soon as heavy rains cease. The aid will include seeds and fertilizer—the basics needed to help the farmers recover and begin planting again. The government has also offered to refinance the debt of 1,700 farmers with the National Development Bank in Ecuador. The affected crops include rice, corn, vegetables, banana, and cocoa. Early prospects for corn harvest are uncertain due to the heavy rainfall received in January and February. Besides the loss of farmland, over 30 people have died due to landslides in 2012, with 84,000 people affected and an evacuation of over 4,700 more with hundreds of homes destroyed.
The most recent mudslide was Monday, March 26, in the region of Pujili, in the Andean province of Cotopaxi, where 2 people were killed, 10 injured and 100 left homeless. The excess rain has also hindered crop marketing due to damage to transport infrastructure to production centers.
The usually heavy rains may continue through April, after which the rainy season normally ends according to the nation’s National Meteorological Institute. The way the year is shaping up, it may eventually rival the damages accrued during the 2010 rainy season when 32 people were killed and 34,415 left homeless. (For additional information, contact Dr. Denise McWilliams, South American crop analyst at 202-720-0107).
Visit Crop Explorer http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/cropexplorer
Current USDA area and production estimates for grains and other agricultural commodities are available on IPAD's Agricultural Production page or at PSD Online.
Figure 1. The largest cropland losses during 2012 are in the six coastal provinces of Ecuador shown above. Heavy rains and landslides have resulted in a loss of 34,000 hectares this year.
Figure 2. Steady downpours in Ecuador have soil moistures so high in many regions that ponding and landslides have occurred. The coastal areas have been plagued with mudslides and torrential rains that have affected cropland. The rainy season in Ecuador usually extends through April.
Figure 3. Cropland in Ecuador is concentrated in the coastal provinces, where recent rains this year have hampered crop establishment and growth. Corn, planted in December, has been damaged due to excessive rain in January and February this year.