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The prices for one quintal of corn and dry beans rose in Guatemala by 6.19 and 3.72 percent in January, compared to the previous month.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a report on Tuesday that points out that the increase in the price of corn, which in December was quoted at 97 quetzales (US$ 13.20) and in January at 103 quetzales (US$ 14), “maintaining an upward trend” which is “normal” at this time due to the decrease in supply.

However, this price is below average based on numbers from the last five years, 114 quetzales (US$ 15.55), although 0.98 percent higher than in January 2017, when it was 102 quetzales (US$ 13.91).

“The price variation in the last months has not been significant; this is because the harvests obtained in the last cycles of the crop have been above normal, as a result the income of corn is coming from Mexico”, adds the document.

The figures on these basic grains, in the opinion of the FAO, “favor the families that buy the grain for their food”, but discourage producers due to the low profitability generated by current prices.

For its part, the price of the quintal of beans reported an increase of 3.72 percent with respect to the price of the month of December 2017, then trading at US$ 51.29 and now at 390 quetzales (US$ 53.20).

“The increase in the price of this product has been slight, considering that currently none of the regions of the country is harvesting this grain,” but FAO warns of the possibility that this upward trend will continue in the coming months.

It is estimated that in Guatemala, 63 percent of rural employment is linked to the agricultural sector and that the farmer economy contributes 48 percent of the value of the sector’s production.

In addition, according to FAO, there are 718,585 family agricultural units, representing 86.5 percent of the country’s agricultural holdings.

According to the National Commission of Ecological Agriculture (Comisión Nacional de Agricultura Ecológica, CNAE), there are 1,299,377 rural families that depend on the agricultural activity in Guatemala, utilizing a cultivation area of 890,000 hectares for crops of corn, beans and rice, among others.

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