OPINION: Panama’s agricultural crisis

Farmers protest imports

The agricultural sector, the backbone of the country’s food security, is cornered. The crisis of conjuncture has many loose ends that revolve around unfulfilled promises and the management of government that has taken the Panamanian agriculture to a critical condition. The rice silos are full of imported grain, which does not give space to national production. At the same time, the specialized laboratories that are needed to provide the analyzes to be able to export meat are not yet in operation. This is another chapter of the same saga that in previous governments had as protagonist the Dutch onion, and currently the rice of Guyana. There is no transparency in agricultural institutions, and government actions punish and discourage national production. Agriculture should not be the object of subsidies that only maintain a precarious situation, but of strategic investments and the stability of public policies that facilitate profitability and competitiveness that has been denied to this potential giant of the Panamanian economy. Not everything can be logistics and tourism since someone has to produce what we eat. The agricultural sector needs respect and men and women who keep their word.- LA PRENSA, Dec. 13