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Magdalena and La Guajira

Colombia: Banana production declined by 30 percent due to drought

According to information provided by the director of ASBAMA, Anwar Scaf, the severe drought recorded in Magdalena and La Guajira has led the banana production in this part of Colombia to decrease by up to 30 percent.
The concern among producers is high as the Ideam announced that the country would be under the influence of El Niño throughout the second half of the year, which will exacerbate the lack of water crisis faced by the farms and that prevents the proper watering of plants.

Anuar Scaf, ensured that the situation of the banana sector in these two departments was critical and that the sector required urgent actions to avoid a catastrophe.

"The banana plant is 80 percent water so it is necessary to maintain crop irrigation, which is increasingly difficult to do because there are no water sources and many producers have even had to stop growing in certain areas," he said.

To reduce the effects of a second inclement summer, banana producers have held several meetings where they have agreed on actions for the short, medium and long term. These actions include water storage projects that would allow them to irrigate the crops in a timely manner.

"We have been working with the Banana Zone's irrigation associations, such as Asoríofrío, Asosevilla, Tucurinca and Aracataca, with which we plan to structure several projects, starting with the construction of deep wells, then, the reloading of aquifers and reservoirs at strategic locations in order to store, in winter, the water that we can not distribute in the summer," he added.

Among the proposals of the banana sector is also the setting up of a public-private partnership to make the investments in this regard. "On Tuesday, we had a meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture in which we expressed our interest in leading the construction of a reservoir in the river channels, which would be worth 450,000 million pesos and for which we would split the funding," said Anuar Scaff, who added that they were studying the strategic places where it could be built and how it would be administrated.

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