260,000 hams to be subsidized

The Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IMA) will spend some $ 5.4 million on the purchase of 260,000 hams to supply the Christmas fairs.

The hams will sell for $8 at the Naviferias of the Institute of Agricultural Marketing (IMA) .

Every year, the ham is one of the most sought after products at the Christmas fairs of the IMA, which generates chaotic rows.

The objective is that 260 thousand families may have a ham for their Christmas dinner at a lower cost, although the entity recognizes that there will be no way to regulate that a family buys more than one unit.

The IMA informed that the Naviferias will take place from December 5 to 22, will open at 7:00. am and that a coupon will be given in order of arrival for the purchase of the ham.

Raúl Ávila , general director of the IMA, said that a coupon will be delivered in order of arrival to people in line and recognized that "it is impossible" to regulate that the same family buys more than one ham. "We do not have the technology or budgets to control that, "he said. "Those with a coupon will be guaranteed a ham," he said.

"We are all Panamanians, we want everyone to have the opportunity. The person who has the vividness of buying more than one ham is taking away the opportunity from another family, "he said.

Pregnant women, retirees and people with disabilities will have priority in the delivery of the coupon and a special row will be created.

"We ask consumer get there early in order to be the first people to get tickets. The coupons of each fair will be different to avoid fakes.

Of the 260,000 hams purchased, 70% are locally produced.

After a purchase call to the local agroindustry, the IMA negotiated the acquisition of 180,000  hams. The rest is imported.

Each ham, is more than 8 pounds, was paid to the local producer at around $ 22 and the imported piece at $ 19. This subsidy represents ta saving of $ 18 dollars to the consumer, if one takes into account that the commercial value of a picnic ham ranges between $ 25 to $ 26.

Suppliers must meet a series of requirements, such as delivery under  a refrigeration system at the point of sale.

During the 17 days of the fair, the IMA will sell picnic hams, rice in bags of 20 pounds, oil, grains, pasta, sugar, salt, flour, canned tuna, sausages and ham, among other products. It will also enable a space for the sale of locally produced vegetables and fruits. In this enclosure, consumers will be able to purchase the necessary products for the Christmas dinner of a family of four members. The cost savings will be $40, compared to a supermarket, said Avila.

On December 5, the Naviferias in Panama City will be available at Silos Panama, Pan de Azúcar, San Miguelito; in Merca Panama, via Centenario; in Chilibre, on the grounds of the Agua Bendita gym; in the main road of Juan Díaz, around the church of the Virgin del Carmen; and on the playground of the corregimiento December 24, when entering through Mega Mall.

There will also be fairs in Penonomé and Aguadulce, Coclé; Metetí, Darién; Veraguas (agency of the IMA); Herrera (Rico Cedeño Stadium); Casco de Colón; Capira and La Chorrera.

This year, the IMA has programmed 125 Naviferias, 30 more than in 2017.