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Panama government changes stance on onion imports

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Staff writer ▼ | June 2, 2015
Even though the Minister of Agriculture, Jorge Arango, said the country's import system was a mess and haS ruined domestic production, the government of Panam has imported 789,673 quintals of onions, potatoes and paddy in 11 months.
Panama onion
Food   The Panamanian Food Safety Authority
According to the Panamanian Food Safety Authority (Aupsa), from July 2014 to date, Panama has imported 372,867 quintals of onions, 367,794 quintals of paddy, and 49,012 quintals of potatoes.

According to producers, these imports are excessive and are one of the causes of the strike carried out last Monday for undersupplied markets to demand the Government suspends such purchases and that the amendments to the law created by the Aupsa, that regulate this activity, be enacted.

The Minister's first reaction to the strike was to tell producers that if there were a shortage in supply, the Government would proceed to import food However, a few days later, after the producers' pressure managed to curb imports through the Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IMA), Arango changed his stance.

"Imports are doing tremendous damage and all the laws are made to permit this,. The rules we have created will let us know when and how Panama imports onions, because there were requests to import from people who did not even have warehouses," he said.

He also said there were importers who imported the onions and took them to highlands and sold them as seeds, which was very dangerous.