An overproduction of corn, wheat and rice in China and a record crop which is expected this year in the United States will continue to push international prices down.
While drought in Central America ravages crops of basic grains such as corn, it is estimated that this year China will have a reserve of 150 million tons of grain, "... including three of the most important crops in China: rice, wheat and corn. The figure is double the 75 million tonnes produced last year and adds to the abundance of agricultural commodities which is undermining prices. "
The high demand from consumers has forced distributors to increase the import of this product.
While this is happening, oversupply in the local production of fresh potatoes is deteriorating domestic production. According to Fabian Segura, president of the Costa Rican Chamber of Potato Growers, there is an oversupply as a result of over-seeding, but what is having the biggest effect is the preference for frozen pre-fried potatoes.
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.
The leader of the Rice Growers Association of Chiriqui (Apach), Carlos Santanach, said there are issues to be further discussed with the government such as financing, the use of irrigation, the rearrangement of imports and the adequacy of land.
Producers are complaining about the government’s unfulfilled promises to place their crops in the market, and demanding an end to rice imports.
Producers in the Guanacaste area are protesting again, demanding that the government respects a promise agreed last November, which, according to the rice growers, would resolve the placement of more than five thousand tons of rice which has been stored in dry silos, both public and private, since September 2011.
Local problems generated by fixing the price of the grain have extended to the international arena, sparking protests from exporting countries affected by non-tariff related barriers put in effect.
Argentina's ambassador sent a protest letter to the local Foreign Ministry regarding the requirement that the husked riceimported by Costa Rica be fortified with vitamins in its country of origin. Up until now imported rice has been fortified in Costa Rica after its admission. "According to complaints received from import companies based in Costa Rica, the authorities of this country have turned an internal health regulation into something whimsical, artificial and unreasonable ...", said ambassador Arcuri.
In what seems to be a reaction caused by the rice lobby, the government is now requiring imported rice to be fortified in its country of origin.
11,400 quintals of grain loaded into 21 containers have been detained in the port of Limon, because they violate a rule which states that unhusked rice must have vitamins added to it in its country of origin. The requirement has existed since 2002, but has not be applied until last Friday.
As part of the Agritrade Platform, Guatemala will participate for the 27th time in PMA Fresh Summit, the most important international trade show and convention of fruits and vegetables in the United States, which will take place at Anaheim Convention Center, California from October 17th to 19th.