Mexican farmers protest over grains prices

The protests shut down Sinaloa airport
calendar icon 15 June 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Dozens of flights at an international airport in the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa were suspended Wednesday as protests by farmers demanding guaranteed prices for grains ramped up a standoff with the government.

Farmers in at least 20 states kicked off demonstrations on Tuesday, blocking traffic on highways and toll booths and occupying government offices, as well as the airport in Sinaloa state capital Culiacan, which has domestic flights and an international route to Phoenix, Arizona.

Operations at the airport were first suspended on Tuesday afternoon and remained paused on Wednesday, pending the arrival of officials to talk with farmers, according to the airport's Twitter account.

Producers urge President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador to guarantee prices for corn, wheat and sorghum, saying government intervention is vital to counter a steep drop in international prices.

The Chicago Board of Trade's most-active corn contract this month was down about 19.5% from this time last year. Wheat was also about 43% lower.

Farmers sent him a public letter last week asking for the price of corn to be set at 7,000 pesos ($402.90) per ton, wheat at 8,000 pesos ($460.45) per ton and sorghum at 6,500 pesos ($374.12) per ton to help keep them afloat as production costs rise.

Saying they had no response, a group of farmers marched to Culiacan airport and blocked the doors in videos shared on social media.

In other videos, farmers entered government offices and tipped grain from bags onto the floor.

National guard troops and police were deployed to some of the protests, video showed.

Sinaloa Governor Ruben Rocha asked farmers to instead protest commodities trader Cargill and Mexican corn product makers Minsa and Gruma, implying they were responsible for lower prices.

"Let us go together to protest against those truly responsible....," Rocha said on his Facebook page.

A spokesperson for Cargill in Mexico did not respond to a request for comment. Spokespeople for Gruma and Minsa could not immediately be reached.

A spokesperson for the Agriculture Ministry did not comment.

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