Peruvian truckers, farmers block roads in protests over fuel, fertilizer


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LIMA — Peruvian farmers and truck drivers staged at least 14 roadblocks on Thursday as part of ongoing protests over high gas prices and fertilizer shortages, hitting the trade and tourism sectors in the South American nation.

Most of the roadblocks were organized in Peru’s central and southern regions, the country’s ground transportation superintendent SUTRAN reported. Local television showed hundreds of cargo vehicles along blocked roads in the regions of Tacna, Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Ancash and Piura.

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“If we are not heard, we will make more radical decisions,” protest leader Dante Morales told thePeruvian farmers and truck drivers staged at least 14 roadblocks on Thursday as part of ongoing protests over high gas prices and fertilizer shortages, hitting the trade and tourism sectors in the South American nation.

Most of the roadblocks were organized in Peru’s central and southern regions, the country’s ground transportation superintendent SUTRAN reported. Local television showed hundreds of cargo vehicles along blocked roads in the regions of Tacna, Arequipa, Cusco, Puno, Ayacucho, Ancash and Piura.

“If we are not heard, we will make more radical decisions,” protest leader Dante Morales told the Canal N television station at one of the blocked highways in southern Tacna. “It’s because of the rise in fuel prices. We want it to go down.”

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Farmers and truckers are feeling the impact of the war in Ukraine, which has pushed prices of fuel and fertilizer higher around the world. Peru also is struggling with its highest inflation rate since the end of the last century.

Truckers have been protesting for three days while farmers are engaged in a second day of demonstrations.

The protests are delaying the arrival of trucks to the port of Callao, Peru’s main port, affecting the distribution of imports such as corn and wheat, the Peruvian Association of Maritime Agents said in a statement.

Additionally, the Peruvian Hydrocarbons Society reported a slowdown in departures of tankers that transport liquefied natural gas from Pampa Melchorita in Canete – on Peru’s central coast – to the north of the country.

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In tourist-popular Cusco, the Transandino Railway company, which ferries travelers to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, announced on Wednesday that it will cease operations on Thursday and Friday due to the strike.

Farmers are protesting shortages of fertilizer after several failed attempts by President Pedro Castillo’s government to finalize an international purchase for the planting campaign that began in August.

Government representatives did not immediately respond to inquiries about the protests.

Earlier this month, Economy Minister Kurt Burneo said he had taken steps to prevent diesel from rising by as much as 5 soles ($1.3) per gallon. (Reporting by Marco Aquino; Editing by Paul Simao)

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