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WEATHER - Frost damages in north a disaster

Due to the frosts that have plagued the north of the country, Mexico needs to import three million tons of food to make up for the deficit, said Emilio Romero Polanco, a researcher at the Institue of Economic Research of Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM).

“The loss is estimated at more than 30 billion pesos,” he said. “Two hundred thousand people have already lost their jobs.”

According to the the institute around 600,000 hectares of corn, 300,000 hectares of sorghum and 200,000 hectares of beans have been damaged in the states of Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Chihuahua and Durango.

Romero said that in Sonora frosts have inflicted damage on 60 percent of the vegetable crops and 90 percent of the corn corps, which constitutes a quarter of agricultural production in Mexico. Tomatoes, green beans, squash and chile crops have also been affected.

Romero aslo mentioned that large producers have benefitted from government aid, but small farmers are left out of the picture.

The government only provides short term solutions that are sometimes late and insufficient, he said

“They (small farmers) have been excluded,” he said. “We have to reassess the national agri-food sector to combat poverty, unemployment and migration.”

“Currently they are 20 million people in the country not receiving proper nutrition,” he said.

President Felipe Calderón said on Feb. 22 (Reuters) that Mexico will recover the losses in corn crops.

In Sinaloa around 200,000 hectares of the crop have been replanted so far.

Source: By Rocío Zayas

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