Thursday, February 12, 2009

Potato Crop Destroyed by Cold Weather

Some 75 families in the community Los mecates, lost their potato crop as a result of the cold weather that has affected the region.

Roberto Hernandez, president of the Community Committee, reported that the frost wiped out the potato crop. "We are sad because that's our living. Now our future is uncertain." He added that what's most troubling is that most farmers work with micro credit for the purchase of fertilizers. Now that they've lost their crop, they do not know how to pay their debts.

According to the community, it lost 185 cuerdas, which produce 5,550 bushels of potatoes. At a price per quintal of Q200, that pencils out to Q1,110,000.

Francisco Aguilar told that preparing the ground for sowing the seed takes three to five days. After that, you must wait four to five months for the potato harvest, during which time organic fertilizer is applied twice.

The deputy mayor of Chiantla, Julián Andrés Lucas explained that the problem is that on some days during the cold wave, the ground was covered with sheets of ice. Lucas added that this situation is serious for the farmers living in extreme poverty, because the harvest pays debts and obtains funds to meet the basic needs of families.

A year ago, the same problem occurred and there are still consequences today from last year's crop damage.

Of the 900 people living in the community of Mecate, most have been engaged in agriculture for years.

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