Abundant Yet Expensive Food in Panama

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Abundant Yet Expensive Food in Panama

Till now, the sudden rise in the price of rice and beans are not perceived by most foreign settlers in Panama as a headache. They still find these prices affordable and within their reach. This however comes as bad news for the natives who consider such items to be their staple food.

In spite of the economic growth, the poor indigenous people who live in isolated villages all over the country find it tough to survive under the current conditions. A friend of mine, who went on a visit to an Indian reservation school discovered that the motivation behind perfect attendance of students at a local school was due to the fact that the school gave out a free meal a day to students. Of late the school is having trouble in continuing to do this as the prices have escalated a lot in recent days.

On a recent visit to Boquete this weekend, I noticed to my surprise that the various kinds of food produced in this locale are mainly vegetables. Previously this land was used for cattle farming but as produce prices are rising, a lot of farmers are putting their lands to vegetable production. On a short trip to Baja Mono when I took a lot of photos I took note of a particular plot which was over ten hectares devoted to tomato and other kinds of cultivation. A local friend of mine is farming trout successfully which is later shipped to the U.S. and is trying his hand at salmon farming now.

There is a great surplus of food items such as coffee and also many fruits like bananas, oranges, strawberries, mangoes, plantains etc. Very close to David, we can find row upon row of chicken farms. On the other side of the Baru volcano, there are many dairy farms as well as a farm which specializes in farming Black Angus cattle for beef.

Yogurt, cheese and other such dairy products are made by the dairy farms. Outside David lie many hectares of paddy fields and great banana plantations. Almost everything you need is readily available in abundance in the area where we live. When you go into the shops in our area, you will come across “Made in Chiriqui” many of the labels.

Yet, just down the road away from Tole, countless children go hungry because they can’t even afford a pound of rice that has now exceeded fifty cents per pound. This is similar to the water issues in Boquete. Water is plentiful everywhere but not where it matters. With the water it is a mater of sharing and preservation of the system. As for food it is a matter of those who have it and whether they are willing to share with those who don’t.

Anyone wanting to help get more food to those children in the reservation near Tole should start now. Time is here and we all need to help out the unfortunate ones.

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