Nicaragua: Onion producers are demanding government transparency in imports

The producers of various items, mainly horticultural ones, fear they'll disappear due to what they called an "unfair competition" caused by excessive imports that coincide with their crop's cycles and demand transparency in the amounts used to authorize the entry of foreign products from the government.

In addition to the excessive imports, producers also claimed that the products are being smuggled, thus, compromising plant health throughout the territory and also added that every production cycle "there is the disorganized arrival of more importers".

Yesterday in Sebaco, Matagalpa, representatives of cooperatives and other producer associations complained about excessive imports.

The producers of onions, potatoes, tomatoes, rice and other items, agreed that the excess of foreign products in the domestic market has led farmers to sell their crops at bargain prices.

"It is not true that consumers buy these products cheaper," said Eddy Gutierrez Rizo, who grows onions in Paso Real in Sébaco community, a municipality that provides the largest production of onions in Nicaragua.

Unable to sell, onion producers have faced losses that, in some cases, exceed 40 percent of production and "I'm only losing 1.2 million cordobas" said Adolfo Treminio Vega, who planted 30 acres of onions.

The onion growers claim that the problem will get worse because in February onion crops in Jinotega and Estelí will be harvested while the domestic market is still saturated with Dutch onions.

Denis Olivas Orozco, from the Sacaclí cooperative in Jinotega, said that there are, only in that municipality and in La Concordia, 250 blocks set with onion that are expected to yield about 125,000 quintals, "but prices are very low."

"There was an agreement between the Government, onion importers and producers to buy a quintal at 430 cordobas in the Sacaclí community, but none of the dealers have come to buy onions and are only offering to buy at prices between 140 and 180 cordobas per quintal, a breach of our agreement, "said Olivas.

Bismarck Meza, president of the national potato producers commission, claims they are facing the same problem to market potatoes due to imports of the product and that "it said consumers can't buy expensive products, which is a lie, potatoes are always being sold expensively and the traders are making large profit margins".

"Another problem is the smuggling," Meza said, pointing out that the authorities need to take action on the matter, because the smugglers have tried to use the producers' names and "are playing, not only with the price of the product, but with plant health in all of Nicaragua. "According to Meza, "the paratrioza (a pest) arrived here via smuggled goods", and explained that this affects horticultural crops such as potatoes, tomatoes and peppers, causing severe damage.

Source: Laprensa

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