Rice Growers Frustrated By Drought, Mite

January 21, 2005

REGISTERING losses of more than$1 million and 1,000 hectares, a groupof rice growers in Los Chiles, near theNicaraguan border, are opting to give upon rice production, the daily Al Díareported.The growers have been frustrated by aprolonged drought in August and Septemberof last year, and a rice mite that hasattacked their crops since April 2004.National Rice Corporation (CONARROZ)officials blamed the government fornot responding in time to what they calledan agricultural emergency.One farmer told Al Día that of theapproximately 440 acres he planted, only130 survived. He and other farmers saidthey are unable to pay debts and the problemis compounded by falling rice pricesand increasing gasoline prices.CONARROZ said last October therice mite problem is the worst the industryhas seen in the past 10 years (TT,Oct. 22, 2004).

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