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Performance drops by 47%

Nicaragua: Rivas reduces papaya crops

Producers in the department of Rivas have had to reduce the area devoted to papaya cultivation and have had falling crop yields because of the effects of climate change and a lack of funding.

According to the Fourth National Agricultural Census (CENAGRO), conducted by the National Institute for Development Information (Inide), Rivas had 319 acres of papaya crops until 2012. Now, producers say, the planted area has fallen by 40% to 44%.

The papaya production is distributed in the markets of Managua and Masaya, as well as in some supermarkets in the country. Since production has declined, papaya prices range from 300 to 350 cordobas a dozen.

According to Manuel Angel Rodriguez, a papaya producer and gatherer of the municipality of Rivas, the area devoted to this crop in the department of Rivas varies between 180 and 200 acres.

"There's been a reduction because few producers venture to grow this product for fear of drought. Water scarcity is alarming, the wells are running dry and we don't have support to look for funding to implement efficient irrigation systems," said Rodriguez.

Crop yields have decreased by up to 47%. A couple of years ago the average production was 1,500 dozen papayas per acre, today production stands at 700 to 800 dozen papayas per acre.

Donald Obregon is one of the largest producers of this fruit as he has 32 acres where he grows Creole, maradol, and Pococi papaya varieties, a known hybrid that is originally from Costa Rica.

According to Obregon, crop yields have been affected by climate change, "apart from the drought, the plantations are also affected by the high temperatures that makes them abort the flowering process, and makes us lose the production."


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