Drought reduces Mexico’s agricultural production

February 14th, 2012 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, Feb 14 (IANS/EFE) The severe drought affecting 22 of Mexico’s 32 states has caused a 40 percent drop in agricultural production, opening the way for food shortages over the next few months, authorities said.

The assistance promised by President Felipe Calderon’s administration to those affected by the nine-month-old drought is insufficient, said the National Peasants Confederation, or CNC, Mexico’s main peasant organization and an ally of the opposition Institutional Revolutionary Party, or PRI.

President Felipe Calderon has vowed to do everything within the government’s power to help those suffering from the drought.

Calderon ordered the disbursement last month of 33.82 billion pesos (about $2.5 billion) to help states in central and northern Mexico affected by the drought.

The funds will be used to fix and improve the systems that supply water to residents of drought-stricken areas, as well as to provide food to communities affected by the natural disaster.

Corn and beans are staples in the Mexican diet and shortages could lead to speculation, sending the prices of these commodities soaring, the CNC said.

“Of the 4.2 million people who fell into food poverty from 2008 to 2010, nearly 75 percent (about 3 million)” live in rural areas, the CNC said.

–IANS/EFE
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