Vegetable market protest short-circuited by minister

Some farmers and certainly some opposition party members have been up in arms over what they say is a secret effort to close down the weekly vegetable markets or ferias. A protest march was planned for today.

However, the government said that it is getting a bad rap.

Gloria Abraham, the minister of Agricultura y Gandería, was at the legislature to dispute the rumor Monday. She said that there were no plans to privatize the markets. In fact, she said that the ferias would soon be declared in the public interest, a legal designation. The law authorizes private control of each feria and not by the government, the minister said.

Ms.  Abraham added that her ministry will be distributing 500 million colons, about $1 million, to the various ferias to improve the infrastructure.

Many of the weekly markets in the Central Valley are in public right-of-ways with no permanent infrastructure. Elsewhere there are more formal arrangements.

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