Millers, traders, consumers, agricultural authorities and rice growers agreed to import 1.3 million quintals of rice paddy in order to meet domestic demand and the shortfall in domestic production.
However, this first batch is milled rice, which has led to the discomfort of growers and others who consider this as “non-compliance” with the agreement between them all. "The shipment of milled grain only benefit supermarkets, reported Ruben Zevallos, president of the Association of Rice Producers Abroad", reported Prensa.com.
The quota for shortages, whose cost is $24.1 million, consists of 444, 600 quintals of milled rice to 650,000 quintals of clean dry unhusked rice.
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100,000 tons could be imported by the government to cover shortfalls in the coverage of domestic demand of about 3 million quintals.
The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (SIC in Spanish) is studying the import of 100,000 metric tons of unprocessed rice to cover the deficit recorded in the coverage of domestic demand, which could reach approximately 3 million quintals in 2012.
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.
Due to poor yields during harvest the country must import about 6 million quintals of coffee in order to supply demand from the local market.
The purchase will be made through Bolsa Nacional de Productos (Baisa), arriving the country in late April.
"Faced with decline in coffee production, on March 20th, coffee growers and agricultural authorities will meet in Boquete, Chiriqui Province, to define a future strategy for the coffee industry," reported Prensa.com.
The country will import 1.3 million quintals in order to compensate for current low crop yields.
The import of an initial quota of 1.3 million quintals of rice to meet domestic demand, was approved by the Agri-Food Rice Chain, which is a body composed by producers, millers, traders, consumers and agricultural authorities.