INTRODUCTION: Under mounting economic pressure the Nicaraguan Government has launched a massive campaign to get in the country's cotton harvest.
GV Camp building in Leon, ZOOM OUT TO camp
SV Daily life in camp
GV Workers arriving in truck at cotton plantation
Workers picking cotton in fields
SV Armed volunteer soldier picking cotton
SV PAN GV Cotton picked, and large field at harvest (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: Under mounting economic pressure the Nicaraguan Government has launched a massive campaign to get in the country's cotton harvest. Burdened by a huge foreign debt and with the United States recently suspending credits the cotton harvest is vital to the country's economic survival. But pickers are scarce. Workers from neighbouring countries have failed to arrive and the government has recruited soldiers, students and others for the harvest. Even so, the target of 325,000 bales is not expected to be reached.
SYNOPSIS: Normally thousands of workers come into the country from neighbouring El Salvador and Honduras for the harvest. But this year the supply or workers to camps like these has been reduced to a trickle due to the troubles Nicaragua is having on its borders with both countries. Cotton and coffee are the mainstays of the agricultural economy. Because of the short-fall is expected in this year's cotton harvest.
Although the coffee crop was up to previous levels a sharp reduction in world prices will show a big drop in revenue. These crops are so important because the revolutionary leader of the country are still struggling to revitalize the economy after the insurrection that toppled General Someza two years ago. America has suspended 15-million dollars worth of credits after accusing the Sandinista Government of helping arms guerrillas in neighbouring El Salvador.
So getting the cotton crop in becomes more and more important -- particularly as world prices are booming. The country is desperately short of foreign exchange. Last year Nicaragua's foreign trade deficit was three-hundred and 17 million dollars.
This harvest therefore is vital in pegging back the deficit. War played havoc with the last two harvests. This year students and soldiers have been brought in from the towns to help in the fields at week-ends but even os a shortfall in the harvest is likely.