Producción para el Bienestar Receives Budget of US$676 Million
Close to 400,000 farmers in Chiapas and Veracruz benefited from the Producción para el Bienestar (Production for Well-Being) program, with which the Mexican government hopes to boost agriculture in some of the areas most affected by the economic crisis caused by COVID-19.
According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER), 254,000 producers benefited in Chiapas and 131,270 farmers received assistance in Veracruz. “The program boosts and strengthens investment capacity among producers, which stimulates the rural economy,” Víctor Suárez Carrera, SADER’s Deputy Minister, said. According to him, efforts to boost small farmer production will continue in 2021. The Producción para el Bienestar program will have a budget of MX$13.5 billion (US$676 million), representing an increase of 22.7 percent against 2020.
The program is part of a government agenda aimed at encouraging small and medium-size farmers to produce different grains, such as corn, wheat, beans, rice, coffee and sugar cane. In addition, for the first time, the plan offers assistance to cocoa and honey producers. The inclusion of these two products represents an opportunity for farmers to obtain technical assistance to adopt new and sustainable practices to increase productivity and measure yields. It also contributes to the preservation of crucial ecosystems. In the event of natural disasters, the government will also provide direct support to those affected by the weather, according to SADER.
In total, as mentioned by SADER in a press release, aid to farmers has amounted to MX$1.409 billion (US$71 million) in Chiapas and MX$780 million (US$39 million) in Veracruz. Financial support is reaching producers in these two states through a bank account or bank transfer and the results are already palpable. According to SADER, by the end of 2020, despite the pandemic, “the highest food production in recent years” was achieved with 290.4 million tons of produce reported.
Despite the good reception that the program has had among farmers and producers, discordant voices have also emerged. “This (Producción para el Bienestar) will not impact the growth of the agricultural output of the sector because government programs focus on small farmers who grow crops for subsistence and not to deliver to markets,” Juan Carlos Anaya, CEO of Grupo Consultor de Mercados Agrícolas (GCMA), said in an interview with MBN.