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Chile: Strike affects agricultural sector and food security

The National Society of Agriculture (SNA) warned on Friday about the negative effects that the illegal public sector strike, particularly that of the Agriculture and Livestock Service (SAG) and of the Customs service, can have on the country and on agriculture.

"Public officials have mobilized for more than a week demanding wage increases. Unfortunately the country seems to have gotten used to these kind of strikes, even though they are illegal and affect the delivery of public services to thousands of people, hindering the normal development of the economic activity and foreign trade," said the president of the SNA, Patricio Crespo.

The union said, the strike of the officials from the SAG and Customs was altering the delivery of essential services for the agricultural exporting and importing sectors, causing delays in shipments and receptions, especially in the case of imported seeds, which have deadlines to be planted.

The SNA said the sector exports about 600 million dollars in November, mainly of fresh fruits, such as avocados, apples and early blueberries, and pretty soon cherries and a variety of processed fruits, which together surpass 250 million dollars.

"These services at airports and land borders are key to performing health controls, fulfilling a strategic role in the plant and animal protection of our territory, which is a critical asset for our industry," said Patricio Crespo.

The head of the union asked the officials of the SAG and of Customs to be responsible and "restore the levels of service they provide for our agricultural export activity to avoid any damage to our sector, heritage and the international prestige we have for complying with our shipments in a timely manner; something we take pride in and that we must preserve."

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