A new article from Raul Guttierez at the Inter Press Service describes the forces and policies which have led to the decline of agriculture in El Salvador's economy. The resulting economic shifts have had profound effects in the country, including a decline in exports, in the number of agricultural cooperatives, and in jobs available in the farm sector:
El Salvador now exports labour power instead of products, in the form of mass emigration, said William Pleitez, a Salvadoran economist with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). "Agriculture has been one of the losers as a result of these policies, because in many cases, the effects have been the opposite of what was originally expected," he added.
UNDP reports show that in 1978, 81 of every 100 dollars in foreign exchange flowing into the country came from traditional agroexport products, eight came from expatriate remittances, and the rest came from exports assembled in the "maquiladora" sector and from non-traditional exports.
But today, 71 of every 100 dollars come from remittances sent home from abroad by Salvadoran emigrants, only six come from traditional agroexport products, 10 from the maquiladora export assembly plants, and 13 percent from non-traditional exports, especially so-called "ethnic" and "nostalgia" products.
Read the entire article here.