The decline of agriculture in El Salvador

A new article from Raul Guttierez at the Inter Press Service describes the forces and policies which have led to the decline of agriculture in El Salvador's economy. The resulting economic shifts have had profound effects in the country, including a decline in exports, in the number of agricultural cooperatives, and in jobs available in the farm sector:
El Salvador now exports labour power instead of products, in the form of mass emigration, said William Pleitez, a Salvadoran economist with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). "Agriculture has been one of the losers as a result of these policies, because in many cases, the effects have been the opposite of what was originally expected," he added.

UNDP reports show that in 1978, 81 of every 100 dollars in foreign exchange flowing into the country came from traditional agroexport products, eight came from expatriate remittances, and the rest came from exports assembled in the "maquiladora" sector and from non-traditional exports.

But today, 71 of every 100 dollars come from remittances sent home from abroad by Salvadoran emigrants, only six come from traditional agroexport products, 10 from the maquiladora export assembly plants, and 13 percent from non-traditional exports, especially so-called "ethnic" and "nostalgia" products.

Read the entire article here.


El-Visitador said…
"in many cases, the effects have been the opposite of what was originally expected"

You betcha!

We underwent agrarian reform in the 80's! That freed up the land from the opression of the oligarchy, so that the peasantry turned it into the productive engine of the country! Right! Right? Right?

- * -

The U.S. is the ultimate world food producer. Imagine if tomorrow the government were to expropriate ConAgra and Archer Daniel Midland, and split these into thousands of "cooperatives." This is what we did in ES. Look at the consequences: "the effects have been the opposite of what was originally expected."

Anonymous said…
A sixth generation coffee farmer once told me an interesting story. When his land was illegaly occupied and designated for reform, the persons occupying his land removed a sizeable rose garden and replaced it with corn. The rose garden was for the export market. The corn he was told was a means of subsistence and the domestic market. Not only does corn not grow too well in that particular area and soil, the rose garden generated 300 dollars more income per day than corn and it employmed more people. And I can't forget to mention that there was already more than enough corn in El Salvador

I feel Salvadorans tend to discount well researched and statistically sound policies in favor of short term solutions that seem to jive with the solutions presented by one of the two main political parties.

I'd be interested to know if anyone has examples of land being misappropriated and misused.
Hodad said…
sounds like the norm for ES as always,
NO COMMON SENSE, not a lick
"common sense, is NOT common"
after living there Mr Dutchman, for 14 years, believe me, i fight each and every day with the 'fijese mentality'
"stupid is as stupid does", so says Forest Gump
latinos a we say are excellent workers, but ONLY WITH CLOSE SUPERVISION
they are NOT gringos or Europeans
just how it is there,
not being arrogant, I LOVE ES but that is the fact, Jack
I am for El Frente,but NOT putting old idiotic communistic farts like Shacflick for president, get real
it seems the 'normal folk' need the rich to show them the way sometimes
it is ALL about education
shame, sad but true, and the rich in the past were educated in mainly nice schools in USA or Europe, now their kids going to school overseas are as worthless as their counterparts here in USA and I assume Europe
just not the same anymore
this planet is in serious trouble Pal.
the youth, i would say below 30, are basically worthless
just wanna-be's
ask any old fart like myself, and they will tell you,
the 65 year old guys working in the stores here,like Best Buy's and Walmart, Circuit City,etc., is because the 'kids' do not show up
nor do they listen to their elders, and asking them to do 'chores' is like pulling teeth
too busy on video games or at the mall, yes, even in ES

EL SAL should certainly be putting it's main focus on Agriculture, but no one wants to be a farmer anymore, much less rose growers
the future is GROWING FOOD
think about it
not everyone needs a new Ipod,