Why did agriculture decline?

Why did agriculture decline?
Why did agriculture decline?

The Cesar Family Compensation Fund, Comfacesar, organized a forum with the aim of taking stock of the past, present and future of the department’s economy. One of the invited economists was José Antonio Larrazabalwho gave an overview of how the behavior of the GDP of the department in the last 40 years.

In 1980, the economist revealed, agriculture, livestock, forestry and fishing They were the main engine of the economy of the department of Cesar, to the point that they contributed 42% of the Gross Domestic Product. 42 of every 100 pesos were produced in the countryside.

In second place were sectors such as commerce, transportation and accommodation, with 16% and manufacturing industries with 10%. By then, mining only accounted for 2.2% of GDP. However, 44 years later the cake changed. By 2023, according to Dane data, 42% The mining sector contributes to the economy, led by the coal producing companies; in second place, public administration (14.3%), while agriculture appears to be lagging behind with 10%.


Did coal influence the detriment of the countryside? For Larrazabal, the issue is more complex. “In 1987, the agricultural sector represented 42.8%, but since then it has begun to decline. Then, in 1995, when mining production began, agriculture only contributed 25.8%. The decline in agriculture began before large-scale mining exploitation began,” he said.

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In that sense, he maintained that the decline was related to the economic opening that bankrupted cotton and corn producers; the violence that displaced thousands of people and factors such as climate change.


Another worrying change in Cesar’s GDP is that of manufacturing industries. In 1980, the manufacturing industry contributed 10% of GDP; currently they only represent a marginal 2.3%.

“It seems that our industry is the same as it was 30 years ago, as if there had been no investment. We have to do something different because we don’t have an industry. The economy, beyond the mining sector, fell asleep. A laziness was created to try to generate added value in terms of production. We have not done our homework,” was Larrazabal’s conclusion.


The department of Cease has two economic challenges. The first is to achieve greater participation at the national level. Currently, the GDP of Bogotá, Antioquia and Valle del Cauca They accumulate 50% of national production. For his part, the Cease It has 2.6% of the population and only reaches 2.1% of the national GDP, considering that the majority is contributed by coal. That is, the population is greater than the production.

“Having coal we do not have a greater participation than our population. We are in the regular groups because we have coal. Without the mineral, we would be in the last places,” explained Larrazabal.

Therefore, P.YoB per capita of Bogotá is almost $50 million, while the department of Cesar does not exceed 23.9 million, below the national average (30.1 million). And if coal production were to end, GDP per capita, which refers to the average income of each citizen, would drop to $13.9 million.

“Clearly, the figures show that this equation must be changed because we will continue to talk about poverty and high unemployment. Our red grasshopper is the coal resources. If we have not done the task in these 29 years, we have to do it well in these 30 that remain, because otherwise no one will be able to save us,” added the specialist.


In the words of Larrazabal, the growth Economic is the vehicle for generating employment and reducing poverty. This solution involves creating synergies between the national, departmental and municipal public sectors, together with the productive sector and academia. “If they are not all there, it cannot be done. But generating synergy is not: ‘We’ll meet tomorrow and that’s it.’ It is: ‘We meet tomorrow and always’”.

The construction of a roadmap must emerge from this synergy.which allows starting an agency to promote the department and Valledupar as capital.

Likewise, There are other key factors: that the department establishes the agenda, and not from Bogotá; to be able to access greater resources from national spending, beyond royalties, and demand solutions to complex problems such as energy costs.

By Deivis Caro – @deiviscaro21

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