Peruvian protests: 'Normal operations to resume' after protests, harvest delays - AGAP

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Peruvian protests: 'Normal operations to resume' after protests, harvest delays - AGAP

Peru's agro-export sector is 'planning to resume normal operations' after a week of protests that led to disruptions in the harvest and packing of fruit and vegetable crops, according to the Association of Agricultural Producers Guilds of Peru (AGAP).

Widespread protests by farmworkers erupted last week over pay and working conditions, with the Ica and Chao valleys experiencing the interruption of their operations due to road blockages.

There were also some cases of the facilities of large export companies being vandalized.

"As a consequence, harvest and packing of table grapes, blueberries and asparagus were delayed for a few days and are now expected to return to projected levels of export," AGAP said on Sunday.

It is not yet clear exactly to what extent exports of these products were affected.

AGAP said that the farmworkers were mainly protesting against the use by some agricultural companies of third-party worker contractors acting as intermediaries.

The demand has been that these operators – which are not supervised by the government labor inspection bureau - have not provided all the benefits that the law establishes.

New social demands have also been included, such as pay increases and the abolishment of a decades-old law that promotes Peruvian agriculture that farmworkers say is unjust.

As a consequence of these claims, Congress voted that a redraft of the Agricultural Promotion Law should be presented in two weeks.

"The Peruvian agri industrial sector is planning to resume normal operations after one week of disruptions in some important production areas," AGAP said.

AGAP said it has publicly condemned non-compliance of labor laws, exhorted the government to maintain the rule of law, and requested government's labor inspection institutions to increase its scope of control.

The group has also made itself available to government for helping create a new legal framework that should not only improve working conditions and formalization in the industry, but greatly increase the scope of inclusiveness and progress in small farmlands and peasant life.

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