Potato producers in the Majes Valley, in the province of Castilla, Arequipa, are concerned about the 50% drop in potato prices at origin. The price of a kilo of potatoes has gone from 1.20 soles to 0.60 cents, stated the president of the Majes Valley Users Board, Fidel Alpaca Postigo. "Intermediaries pay the price they want on the farm, but a kilo of potato is being sold for 1.80 in the market," the leader stated.
The situation became worse for producers because they stopped exporting to Bolivia. Bolivia has opened its borders but they require each vehicle pays a tax of 2,500 soles to enter the country, an amount that renders exports unprofitable. In addition, the cost of inputs experienced a considerable increase. A bag of diammonium phosphate, for example, went from 125 soles to 148 soles and the cost of urea rose from 122 to 156 soles.
This situation directly affects the income of farmers, because they won't recover enough capital to plant rice, Fidel said. In addition, there are still 500 hectares of potatoes that haven't been harvested in the valley and each hectare produces 30 tons.
"We want authorities to declare a national state of emergency for agriculture so that the Government subsidizes the importation of the fertilizer," he stated. According to Alpaca Postigo, the declaration of regional emergency for agriculture in Arequipa, a measure that was approved last month, still has no results.