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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 13:22 GMT 14:22 UK
Guatemala farmers on drought losses

Farmers in Guatemala say they will lose 80% of this year's bean harvest because of a drought which has devastated large regions of central America.

The president of Guatemala's Agricultural Congress, Fernando Asturias, said the drought - which lasted through most of June - will cost 17,000 farmers more than $20m in lost beans.

But government officials say the drought has affected far fewer farmers, and will cost the country just five percent of its bean crop.

The Agricultural Minister, Joge Escoto, said farmers were deliberately overstating their losses in order to drive up prices.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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