Near Tungurahua, farmers rush to harvest crops

Feb 11, 2014

After a week of eruptions, the Tungurahua volcano has damaged thousands of hectares of crops, leaving a feed shortage for 110,000 head of livestock.

The volcano erupted on Feb. 2, sending an ash plume about eight miles into the atmosphere, followed by two other moderate-sized explosions that sent ash about three miles into the sky. Since then, the volcano has continued to erupt.

The thick ash is coating crops and high winds are causing the ash to spread around the countryside.

In order to minimize the losses due to the eruption, farmers have begun to harvest crops that have rippened, such as tomatoes and squash.

According to local media reports, the spreading volcanic ash has led to vegetable shortages in some large and medium-sized cities in the country, and caused a rise in prices.

In Guayaquil, the biggest city in Ecuador, prices for onions, corn and potato have risen for about 10 per cent, the report said.

The Ecuadorian Geophysical Institute said that the volcanic activity gradually lessening.