Droughts in some parts of the country and heavy rains in others have hit rice farmers hard this year and led to the loss of billions of colones, leading the National Rice Corporation (CONARROZ) to ask the government to declare the situation a state of emergency.
The areas most affected by low rainfall are the northwestern province of Guanacaste, the Caribbean province of Limón and the central Pacific coast, while heavy rains have damaged the Southern Zone and north-central Costa Rica, according to a study carried out by CONARROZ together with the Production Ministry (formerly the Agriculture Ministry). These regions contain 2.6 million hectares of rice fields where 129 rice farmers make their living.
In light of these losses, CONARROZ president Carlos González on Wednesday asked the government to declare a state of emergency to help farmers.
Experts have attributed this year’s heavy rains in some areas and droughts in others to the weather phenomenon El Niño, which is caused by the heating of Pacific Ocean waters by one-half a degree Celsius for a five-month period or longer (TT, Oct. 27).