The Ministry of Agriculture established in a resolution the price of rice may not exceed 824 pesos per kilo in the Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira departments while rice farmers of other departments are free to set their own prices.
According to farmer Jose Maria Ochoa, the decision is detrimental to the economy of the sector since the millers charge 650 pesos per kilo to process the rice. With a selling price of 824 pesos, there is not much profit left for the farmers.
The rice farmers met with House Representative Carmen Cecilia Gutierrez Mattos, who promised to mediate with the government to avoid a strike of the farmers. The representative also said she will meet with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe personally to talk about the situation, local media reported.
The Cesar, Magdalena and La Guajira departments are one of the largest producers of rice in the country.