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Peru: "The potato crisis is not due to overproduction"
Congressman Horacio Zevallos Paron, from the New Peru caucus, said that the potato crisis was not due to overproduction as the government has stated.
"When one looks at statistics, one can see that in the last four years the national production of potatoes has gone up and down year after year. The national potato production has really increased by less than 1% in the last 4 years," he said.
According to data from Minagri, in 2014 Peru produced 4,704,987 tons, in 2015 it produced 4,704,260 tons, in 2016 it produced 4,514,239 tons, and in 2017 it produced 4,739,829 tons.
According to Zevallos Paron, the crisis of the potato sector is due to another fundamental issue, which might have to do with exports and that should be solved.
In addition, he said, we have a Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation (Minagri) that doesn't plan agriculture, for example, it doesn't think about what products we have to produce to satisfy the internal and external market, as other countries do.
"The problem of the potato sector, and agriculture in general, is disorganization. When it comes to organization, the Minagri, which is responsible for promoting agriculture, should protect the interests of domestic producers; something that it hasn't done," he added.
Horacio Zevallos questioned the government's palliative measure of buying 7 thousand kilos of potatoes from each producer to absorb the current overproduction. Currently, he said, there is an overproduction in other agricultural products, such as tomato and carrot, and wondered if the government would also buy that oversupply.
"The S/50 million that have been destined for the purchase of potatoes could have been used to increase Agrobanco's fund, which would have been more profitable, but it seems the government isn't planning for the future and that is a very serious problem," he said.
"If the ministry is thinking about planning agriculture, it must manage the farmers (not just by asking them to be organized), it should set up a real and effective technical assistance system, and monitor crops. We can put together an interesting and important structure to take a real step to strengthen this sector that is so important for our country, but unfortunately we are postponing doing it," he concluded.
Publication date: 2/15/2018
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