Paraguay gov't, farmers form team to reactivate family farm production

    18 de septiembre de 2017

    Asuncion, Sep 18 (efe-epa).- The Paraguayan government and the Peasant and Urban Workers Coordinating Committee announced Monday the forming of a joint working team for the execution of the law passed last August to reactivate family farms with an overall allotment of $40 million.

    Agriculture and Livestock Minister Juan Carlos Baruja told reporters that the team's first meeting will be held Monday and will discuss how to make significant progress in terms of implementing the National Emergency Law, one of the demands of the farm workers who staged a massive protest last July in Asuncion.

    Baruja recalled that the execution of the law requires a budget boost of $40 million, which was approved by the Senate and must still be approved by the lower house.

    Thousands of agricultural workers camped out for 37 days in downtown Asuncion demanding that law, as well as government refinancing of their debts with private and public organizations, which according to them added up to some $34 million and affected some 17,000 small-scale farmers.

    The chief demand of the protesters was forgiveness of loans taken out to purchase seed and other farming supplies.

    The debt forgiveness was approved by Congress, but days later was vetoes by President Horacio Cartes.

    The chief executive rejected the law on grounds that it would cost the nation's treasury close to $3 billion.

    Last week that veto was approved by the Senate due to a lack of support for its rejection.