A highway blockade — one of many — protesting delay in delivery of fertilizer. A highway blockade — one of many — protesting delay in delivery of fertilizer.

At least 3 weeks later farmers are still waiting for long-promised fertilizer

Only 18% of 180,000 tonnes had been delivered as of Thursday

The wait for fertilizer in Guerrero has been a long one — and it’s not over yet. Most farmers are still waiting for the federal government to deliver the promised supplies.

Just 18% of 180,000 tonnes of the product pledged to farmers in the southern state had been distributed as of yesterday, according to a report in the newspaper Reforma, while the Secretariat of Agriculture publicly acknowledged that delivery is delayed.

However, the coordinator of the National Fertilizer Program said the pace of distribution has been increasing and that once peak operational capacity is reached, deliveries will be made to more than 10,000 farmers per day.

Jorge Gage Francois predicted that would occur by Tuesday at the latest.

The official anticipated that 55% of the fertilizer will have been distributed by the end of June and that by July 15, all farmers in the state will have the product they were promised.

Fertilizers for the cultivation of corn, beans and rice are being delivered from 82 distribution centers, Gage said.

Since late last month, farmers in several parts of Guerrero have been protesting against the slow delivery. On May 31, about 400 farmers detained soldiers and police officers in the municipality of Heliodoro Castillo to demand that the government honor its agreement.

They argued that the delivery of the fertilizer was urgent because the rainy season had started, and they might miss their chance to plant.

This week, farmers from the municipalities of Zapotitlán Tablas, Atlixtac, Acatepec and Olinalá have maintained blockades at different points of the Tlapa-Chilapa federal highway, and three councilors from Zapotitlán were detained and held hostage.

Farmers from Teloloapan blocked the highway from that municipality to Iguala and another group of growers broke into a government rural development center.

Leaders of the National Union of Agricultural Workers (UNTA), the Guerrero State Corn Council and the National Farmers Confederation, among other groups, have warned that the protests against the government’s failure to distribute the fertilizer will continue next week.

Marco Reyes, UNTA’s Guerrero leader, predicted that corn production will fall this year due to the delay in the fertilizer’s delivery.

The state governor blamed the delay on the number of bureaucratic procedures farmers must complete in order to obtain the fertilizer.

Source: Reforma (sp) 

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