Could a new bill kill Costa Rica’s beloved farmer’s markets?
Officials from Costa Rica’s Agriculture and Livestock Ministry (MAG) on Tuesday denied rumors circulating that a proposed piece of legislation would close the National Production Council (CNP), a government agency tasked with regulating the country’s many farmer’s markets.
On Monday, farmers staged a protest to draw attention to the issue, prompting ministry officials to respond on Tuesday morning.
Agriculture and Livestock Vice Minister Tania López Lee and CNP President William Barrantes said at a press conference Tuesday that “there is no such plan currently under discussion by President Chinchilla’s administration.”
Nevertheless, farmers from regions across the country plan to march to Casa Presidencial on Aug. 12 to demand the government “halt the bill that would eliminate all farmer’s markets in Costa Rica.”
The purported bill contemplates a staff reorganization, which farmers believe would entail the CNP’s closure.
The proposed legislation – already filed before the Legislative Assembly – establishes a fund of ₡7 billion ($14 million) for staff reorganization that farmers interpreted as the firing of CNP staff.
López said that in the past three years the ministry has distributed some ₡1.2 billion ($2.4 million) for strengthening farmer’s market’s programs, and that changes proposed by the bill “only aim to strengthen” those programs.
There are currently 79 farmer’s markets in Costa Rica certified by the CNP, and they take place Thursday to Sunday across the country.
The markets offer space for some 12,000 mostly small producers in all seven provinces, according to the CNP.
Farmers’ leaders from the Confederation of Cantonal Agricultural Centers said the elimination of farmer’s markets would affect some 2 million people who buy products every week.
You may be interested
Costa Rica coronavirus updates for July 12, 2020Alejandro Zúñiga - July 12, 2020
Costa Rica confirmed 365 new cases of the coronavirus over the past day, totaling 7,596 cumulative known cases, the Health…
Slothy Sunday: Osa, a true ‘Oso Perezoso’Denise Gillen - July 12, 2020
Looks can be deceiving, as those of us who work with sloths can tell you. This is especially true with…
Hotel reservation won’t work as exception to driving restrictions this week [Updated]Alejandro Zúñiga - July 11, 2020
Update: After the Saturday afternoon press conference, the Costa Rican government has apparently changed its mind on this subject. According to…