Colombia: Shortage of avocado in Montes de Maria due to drought

According to Senen Arias Aragon, the vice president of the Association of Ranchers and Producers of Yam and Avocado, avocado production in the upper area of El Carmen de Bolivar has been affected by the Phytophtora pest, which has killed thousands of avocado trees, and the prolonged drought caused by El Niño in the past year.

Arias Aragon also stated that this year's harvest had been very limited because of the lack of rain in that area of the municipality.

To date, he added, the only 450 avocado growers who have survived all the problems in El Carmen de Bolivar have been unable to market 1,500,000 avocados to supply different markets of the Caribbean Coast.

Arias Aragon said producers should be making between 500 and 700 million pesos from the sale of avocado in 2016, a number that he estimated had decreased by 80 percent.

He said that producers had only harvested some 500,000 avocados in April and that the rural economy was in crisis because of the negative effects of El Niño.

He also said the crops of yams and cassava needed rainfall or they would perish, just like the avocado crops, the flagship product of the area, are doing.

"There's been a drought for years and it is increasingly growing. We are waiting to consolidate the planting of 1,500 shrubs of new yam and as much cassava, so we've had to replace the latter one with the one brought from the departments of Cordoba and Sucre," added Arias.

Other sectors
According to Arias Aragon, the crisis affecting producers of avocado, yams, and cassava has also affected transporters, who are currently transporting less and less products.

Similarly, marketers have also had losses as they have stopped perceiving nearly 750 million dollars in avocado sales alone between March and in April.

Due to a lack of avocados in the region, Arias Aragon stated, they've had to introduce avocados from the departments of Quindio, Valle del Cauca, and Tolima into the local market, as well as import them from the neighboring country of Peru.


Source: eluniversal.com.co


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