Panama: Crisis in Rice Sector Worries Businesses

In the province of Chiriqui, of the rice production for 2012, planned at 29,000 hectares, only 14,935 hectares have been planted, twenty days before the end of the season.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Lack of incentives for the rice sector, continued imports of the grain and high production costs have led to a reduction in production of almost 50% in terms of acreage planted.

"Camilo Brenes, president of the Panamanian Association of Business Executives (APEDE), said that as a result of this crisis there could be a decline in GDP of the province of about $60 million", reported

Victor Watts, director of the Agricultural Affairs Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Agriculture of Chiriqui, requested that the government encourage and protect domestic production.

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Over the past two years the province of Chiriqui has doubled the number of hectares planted with palm oil, reaching 18,936 hectares.

The figures were released by the Chamber of Commerce, Chiriquí (Camchi). Meanwhile, Victor Watts, vice president of Palm Growers Association and member of the Chamber of Commerce, Chiriquí, says that cultivation of this type has replaced rice and banana in the Baru area in 90% of cases.

Panama: National Rice vs. Imported Rice

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The disadvantage in terms of productivity and prices of Panamanian rice farmers against major world producers, has trapped producers, many of whom are abandoning the crop.

If this problem is not resolved, consequences will start to be felt. The country could stop planting about 20,000 hectares, said sources close to the sector.

Plague Threatens Rice in Panama

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30% of grain plantations in the province of Chiriqui are being affected by an outbreak of the mite Spinky.

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3 to 4 million quintals must be imported according to estimations by farmers.

Rice growers from the province of Chiriquí won't be able to reach their goal of planting 65.000 hectares.

"We'll hardly reach 50.000 hectares, and 7 million quintals are needed to supply the market. We'll only get 5", said Alexander Araúz, president of the Rice Growers Association of Chiriquí, known as Apach.

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