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Trucks loaded with fertilizer in Guerrero yesterday. Trucks loaded with fertilizer in Guerrero yesterday.

Farmers loot trucks carrying fertilizer as delivery delays continue

The farmers say they need fertilizer urgently because the rainy season has started

Guerrero farmers who are still waiting for government-supplied fertilizer intercepted three trucks carrying the product in Chilapa on Sunday and stole it.

Each truck was carrying 36 tonnes of ammonium sulfate fertilizer and was bound for the municipalities of Zitlala and Tlapa de Comonfort.

The farmers, who belong to the Emiliano Zapata Southern Agrarian League (Larsez), stopped the trucks in an attempt to pressure the government to speed up fertilizer distribution, which they say is delayed by more than a month.

Larsez leader Marcial Díaz Dircio Ortega then tried to convince Jovita Barajas García and Artemio Avelino Abarca, two members of the state delegation of the federal Welfare Secretariat who were aboard the trucks, to allow the farmers to take the fertilizer back to their community.

But when the two parties could not reach an agreement, the farmers, who had come from various communities in the municipalities of Chilapa, Ahuacuotzingo and José Joaquín de Herrera, transferred the fertilizer from the semi-trailers and on to several pickup trucks.

Dircio justified the action by saying that the delivery of fertilizer is urgent because the rainy season is about to start, and that President López Obrador had promised to supply it.

This year is the first year that the federal government has been in charge of distributing fertilizer to farmers as part of a program that has existed for 24 years. Over the last month, Guerrero farmers have protested several times over what they say are irregularities in the process, including delays, changes in the list of beneficiaries and reductions in the amount of fertilizer that beneficiaries will receive.

Last week, federal Agriculture Secretary Víctor Villalobos reiterated his promise that farmers in Guerrero will receive their fertilizer by July 15.

Source: Milenio (sp), La Jornada (sp), El Universal (sp)

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