The unicameral Parliament of Panama approved by insistence a law that favors national purchases of food and supplies by state agencies, an official source said today.
It is the project 628 that establishes the general framework that governs the agricultural sector for food security, reported today the National Assembly (AN), of 71 seats, the majority in the hands of the opposition.
This bill was partially vetoed last June by Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, arguing that part of its content is incompatible with international trade agreements signed by the country.
The law approved by insistence on Monday establishes "that the entities of the central government, in general, and the municipalities, will be supplied with raw material and national agricultural products in all the hiring of food and prepared food supplies that they carry out for all the programs , projects or activities that they develop ".
This provision will not apply only when the inputs "are not produced in the country and should be imported," the National Assembly said in a public statement.
The law dictates that "the State will establish the necessary parameters in order to prevent domestic production from being affected by imports during the harvest season".
"This initiative, which was partially objected by the Executive, has, among other purposes, to transform the agricultural, rural and local areas into an inclusive, efficient, sustainable, environmental, economic, competitive, innovative and enterprising sector," said the Parliament. .
It also "seeks to create the conditions to fight poverty in rural and county areas, and boost the agricultural sector to be the largest generator of employment."
Producers and local analysts denounce that the Panamanian countryside suffers decades of neglect that have relegated their weight in the gross domestic product (GDP) to less than 3 percent, and also denounce an excess of imports of food products.
On October 8, the Panamanian Parliament approved Bill 680, which empowers the head of the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MIDA) to suspend all imports of meat products and milk for a year, so that the demand can be supplied by the government. National Production.