Guerrero Governor Héctor Astudillo has criticized the implementation of a federal program to distribute free fertilizer, calling it “a failure.”
Astudillo told a press conference that 70,000 farmers are still waiting to receive fertilizer they had been promised, and blamed the delays on bad planning and politicization.
He estimated that “a significant number of farmers decided not to plant.”
The governor noted that compared with 2018 there was a reduction of 16% in the area of land where free fertilizer was applied, that the volume of fertilizer distributed was 56% lower, and that there were 69% fewer beneficiaries.
Astudillo blamed the federal civil servants in charge of the program, saying they used it for political purposes.
“They failed to follow the instructions of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, that fertilizer should be free for all producers in Guerrero,” he said.
In total, over 400,000 Guerrero farmers signed up to receive fertilizer through the program. But subsequent delays in distribution pushed farmers to engage in 130 protest actions as the need for fertilizer became more and more urgent.
The director of the fertilizer program promised in June that the delivery of fertilizer would be fully completed by July 15.
Because corn is an important subsistence crop in Guerrero, Astudillo called on the federal government to create an emergency food program to make sure the state does not go hungry in the months ahead.
The free fertilizer program has existed for 27 years, but 2019 is the first year that it has been administered by the federal government. In previous years, the fertilizer was distributed in May, which is the planting season for important subsistence crops like corn, beans and rice.
Deputy Rubén Cayetano, who represents Guerrero for the Morena party, told La Razón that he agrees with Astudillo’s assessment that the program was a failure.
“My perception is that the promises were not fulfilled, because that’s what people in the communities are telling us,” he said.
Cayetano said he hopes to bring Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos to testify before the Chamber of Deputies about the program.