Panama: Despite aids, onion production hasn't improved

The Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IMA) disbursed the last $389,000 dollars in State aid for the onion producers of Nata. Despite the aids, onion production hasn't recovered.

In this regard, the director general of the institution, Eduardo Carles, said the amount had been credited to an account at the National Bank and that the Cooperative of Multiple Services Ariel Chanis, RL (Coasemuach) would be distributing the money in the coming days.

"This will have an impact on more than one hundred local producers who participated in the last onion agricultural cycle in the District of Nata," said Carles.

Previously, as part of the disbursement schedule agreed with the onion producers, the independent producers who purchased from the Ariel Chanis cooperative were paid.

"This is how we honor the commitments made to this group of producers who faced difficulties in marketing their crops," he said.

However, onion producers in the country continue to be affected by the excessive imports that they have previously denounced.

The president of the Association of Producers of the Highlands, Augusto Jimenez, stated that local production was no longer competitive and that 2008 was the last year in which the local farmers were self-sufficient, as they had a production of over 1,600 hectares.

Following this, the Panamanian producers have had to negotiate with the government and accept imports for the remainder of the year to meet domestic demand.

Under the agreement signed between the Committee of Agricultural Food Chain and the potato and onion importers, imports of these products will be limited to some 90,000 quintals until 15 December 2015.

Consequently, producers are already getting ready to start the next harvest. The Association of the Highlands' Producing Community stated that they were currently touring Costa Rica to share experiences and to understand how this country restricted imports without violating international treaties.


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