Chile has decided to extend for three months the agriculture emergency decree to 231 farming communities in the central part of the country because of the lack of rainfall and severe drought.
Agriculture minister Esteban Valenzuela said the emergency decree for farming areas in central Chile will be extended to the months of April, May and June, following a meeting with regional councilors of the affected rural communities.
The ministry of Agriculture and all its services will make an extra effort to redirect relevant funds and share them with the different municipalities of the drought region, said minister Valenzuela.
The municipalities of the different communities have been supplying forage for animals in the smaller farms and have also invested in a system of ponds to catch all the water possible when it rains, added the minister.
Valenzuela also pointed out that the Finance ministry will support investments in programs that promote inclusive employment, and focalized in hydric security.
Valenzuela admitted having received a petition from 27 mayors asking for the government to declare a State of Catastrophe in the regions of Coquimbo, Valparaiso, Metropolitan Santiago, O'Higgins and El Maule because of the intense hydric deficit.
We are considering the request, with different ministries, taking into account different circumstances, some of which could end harming agriculture. Prudence and assessment, and trust government; we are also aware that some of the 231 communities are seconds away from catastrophe
Emilio Cerda head of the Rural municipalities association insisted the situation was most serious and urgent. In some communities there is no drinking water, much less for crops and animals. We are supposed to grow crops, but under these circumstances food prices will only sky rocket.
Gustavo Alessandri president of Chilean municipalities association said the minister has listened, and we must also present projects and programs to address these problems. This problem is not left wing or right wing, or religious, it's a problem that is bashing all of us and we must unite for the good of the country.
Chile has been suffering a drought of different intensity for the last six years, which has drained the few reserves left, and is also impacting the capital Santiago, with half of the city on the limit and strong possibilities of rationing. In the other half there are initiatives to charge extra rates for excess consumption, but this needs of a complicated implementation system.
Former president Sebastian Piñera before stepping down and handing the office to Gabriel Goric, among other issues warned him that the hydric deficit and insufficient rainfall was going to be one of this immediate challenges.