When Mary and I first travelled to Ecuador in 2009 we flew into Manta with a tour group and boarded a bus to travel to San Clemente. Crews were working on the main highway, so the bus took a back road which led us over several small narrow bridges and through some lowland areas. The area was very fertile and we saw acres and acres of fields with corn, onions, tomatoes, and other plants I recognized from the areas we had lived in in the United States.
We also saw swampy areas with green grass covering the ground like this.
The tour guide told us that these fields were growing rice. Other fields showed the rice crop further along.
I learned later that the area we had driven through is called Corre Aguas – which means, “Running Waters.” Corre Aguas is a small agricultural community in the Portoviejo river lowlands between Charapoto and Crucita.
This town is only about ten or eleven miles from our home in San Clemente. Yesterday I hopped on my new steed (Mountain Bicycle) and went to see these rice fields up close.
Rice is a staple food here in Manabí province and grows year-round in the river bottom areas along the coast. The climate is perfect and the farmers are able to harvest three crops per year from these watery fields. Ecuador produces more than 775,000 tons of rice per year and exports about 50,000 tons to other South American countries, so it is a big business.
No where is that industry more vital than in the small community of Corre Aguas, Manabí, Ecuador.
The rice is first germinated in standing water like this.
When the rice grass gets about six inches tall workers gather up clumps of the sprouts and plant them in rows in fields.
The rice grows very rapidly and the fields transform as the crops get larger.
Soon the grains of rice start to form.
When the grains are mature, the fields are dried and the rice is harvested.
After the Corre Aguas rice is harvested it is transported to the nearby town of Charapoto to be threshed and bagged either for local use or export. Since I was already out and about, I rode on into Charapoto and asked permission to get some pictures of the threshing and bagging process.
The rice is brought from the fields to a large holding area by the plant. The holding area was almost empty when I got this picture.
The grains need to be processed and shaken up to separate the good rice from the chafe. The rice is shoveled into this contraption to have the chafe removed.
A complex mass of drive belts, chutes, and blowers is all powered by a motor behind the mechanism.
The machine was running while I was there, so I did not get any closer than this, but I believe there are about a dozen different long belts working numerous shakers and sifting bins as the rice works its’ way through this machine. Eventually the rice comes out cleaned and ready to be weighed and bagged.
I thought the grandkids might get a kick out of seeing this monster machine at work.
We could buy one of these bags of rice right from the plant, but it would take Mary and I several years to eat that much rice!
So, there you have a brief photographic outline of the rice production in Corre Aguas and Charapoto here where…
Life is good in Ecuador.