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Rice Producers Question Price Compensation Program


Posted 28/05/2024

A group of rice producers from Panama East and Darién approached the facilities of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA), concerned about the owed payment of the Price Compensation Program.  This program is promoted by the National Government as a measure to support producers due to the increased inputs and to consumers so that the price of grain does not increase.

Due to their concern, the Minister of Agricultural Development, Augusto Valderrama, met with them.  Valderrama said that to date, about $60 million has been paid to these producers and he guaranteed that before this administration leaves, $20 million more will be paid out.  He highlighted that in these 5 years of government and despite the crisis due to the pandemic and the increase in inputs, the rice producers have been supported with payments so that they continue productive activity and thus guarantee the food security of the Panamanian people.  He assured that when this government took over the administration, the compensation was $7.50 per quintal (equal to 100 kilograms - about 220 pounds), which was later increased to $9.00 and currently $16 per quintal is being paid, which is more than double what was paid at the beginning, and that producers must recognize the increase that the government provided them in the times of the pandemic to compensate.

“We have the funds in the budget to pay off the $80 million, and extra budgetary funds have been requested to pay the $35 million that would remain in debt,” said the Panamanian agricultural head.  He said that the compensation in these five years is exceeding $450 million, about $420 million in rice, $30 million in corn and $18 million in milk.


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Panama Rice Producers Warn Harvests are in Danger


Posted 15/06/2024

Rice Producers from Eastern Panama and Darién warn that due to the lack of compensation payments, it prevents the purchase of inputs, rental of land and preparation of necessary equipment, which puts the next harvest in danger.  Likewise, they denounce that without the planting of rice, national food security will be endangered in the next period, increasing the possibility of shortages in the country.  The producers affirm that the lack of local production will lead to an increase in rice imports, affecting the economy of the producers and the self-sufficiency of the country. 

To date, farmers have not received the payments that correspond to them for their work in 2023, and this situation has led the community of producers to denounce the lack of attention on the part of the authorities, since without these funds they cannot start planting rice, vital for the country's supply.  The producers decided to hold a peaceful protest this week at the headquarters of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) in Panama City, to demand what is due to them.  "Without these compensations, we will not be able to plant and the country will face a shortage of rice.  We need an immediate response from the government to be able to continue our work and ensure food for our families and the entire nation," said one of the affected producers.


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