Published and draft legislation - Panama

Reform of the agricultural sector’s legislative framework

Bill 628

Bill 628, establishing the general legislative framework for the agricultural sector, was passed on 22 October by the National Assembly on its third reading. This law marks a significant step forward for Panama's farmers, insofar as it strengthens the national agribusiness policy, acknowledging the strategic importance of the agricultural sector in the country's development.

The Bill, promoting agricultural production and fostering sustainable rural development, regulates the following areas:

Principles underpinning the country's national agribusiness policy

The regulation defines the country's agribusiness policy as the set of measures and strategies put in place by the State to guide the public and private sectors towards sustainable agricultural production. To this end, it assumes the following principles: social and gender equality and inclusion; the State's social responsibility; civic participation and solidarity; competitiveness; social, environmental and economic sustainability, among others.

Types of agricultural producers

The law distinguishes between three types of agricultural producers, defining them as:

  1. Family-business farmers: those whose living is based on productive agricultural activities in which all members of the family are involved to ensure their food security as well as generating income
  2. Commercial farmers: producers active in the domestic and foreign markets who use technology, hire permanent employees, and who have access to capital and financing
  3. Agribusiness producers: producers who participate in part or all of the value chain, with strong links to the domestic and foreign markets, employing permanent workforce, with access to capital and financing and who transform their own produce

Guiding principles of the country's agribusiness policy

The law, while stating that the human right to food and food security is a national priority and guaranteeing agricultural producers the right to work their own land, recognizes the following general principles of the country's agribusiness policy:

  • Putting in place direct actions to better use and improve natural resources
  • Improvement of the means of production and welfare in rural areas
  • Strengthening agricultural institutions
  • Driving the adoption of new technologies
  • Access to financing
  • Participation of rural and indigenous women in decision-making

Other points

The Bill establishes the instruments to be used by the State for agricultural and food management. There are measures to ensure that the defined policy is rolled out, such as: agricultural research, agricultural financing and insurance, access to technology, and agricultural education.

Moreover, all the institutions in the agricultural sector must update those regulations that have an impact on the sector every 8 years, in order to adapt to the new needs triggered by technology, economic and commercial changes that may take place.