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[captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Rain1.jpg” align=”left” captiontext=”The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) reported that Guanacaste has been severely affected by the weather conditions. (Photo: Red Cross)”]Farming activities have been altered in the Pacific and Central Regions, because of the weather conditions affecting the country since the beginning of October.

Last Wednesday, the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) reported damages in coffee, rice, and sugar cane plantations, as well as in pastures, mainly caused by floods that have covered large amounts of the crop fields in the region.

Although damages cannot be fully estimated at this point, according to Erick Quirós, Director of Regional Operations for MAG, over 4.300 hectares of sugar cane and 3.200 hectares of rice have been affected by the heavy rains. In Chomes, around 50 hectares of rice plantation are at risk of being lost.

“An estimate of 20.000 hectares of pastures is currently underwater,” Quirós said. As a result, grazing will be temporarily unavailable in these areas.

“A large number of animals will require food supplementation such as hay packs, and other type of supplements like honey and mineral salts,” Quirós added. No details about the costs of these supplements have been provided yet.

Dairy production has also been affected by the severe weather. “Several farms in Monteverde have reported a 22% decrease. Meanwhile, rice and sugar cane losses will be calculated in December, during their harvest,” Quirós indicated.

Another concern MAG authorities shared is that the heavy rainfall may result in an increased incidence of a fungi disease known as “ojo de gallo,” which could affect coffee plantations located in the north-central towns of Monteverde, Miramar, and Cedral.

[captionpix imgsrc=”https://thecostaricanews.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/rains2.jpg” align=”right” captiontext=”Cambronero and Interamericana Sur routes have been the most affected routes. (Photo: MOPT)”]Despite thousands of colones in crop loss, the highest priority for the Ministry of Agriculture (MAG) has been saving the lives of farmers, producers, and animals from the affected zones.

The Ministry of Public Works and Transportation (MOPT) reported that at least eight roads in the region show damages and some still remain closed, making the access to certain areas difficult. Cambronero and Interamericana Sur routes have been the most affected routes.

However, MAG authorities have been in coordination with the National Emergency Commission (CNE) to provide vehicles throughout the country to transport food and water to the families of farmers and producers. As necessary, animals will be evacuated and relocated to other lands.

The National Meteorological Institute (IMN) reported that Guanacaste has been severely affected by the weather conditions because 85% of the rain that was forecasted for the entire month has fallen just within the first two weeks of October.

As soon as the heavy rains cease, farmers and producers are expected to go back to their regular activities.

by David Gómez for TheCostaRicaNews.com

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