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  • El Niño has been causing water shortages, fires and frost across the country, causing extreme damage to crops.

    El Niño has been causing water shortages, fires and frost across the country, causing extreme damage to crops. | Photo: Reuters

Drought in Colombia has affected 15,000 hectares of crops, leaving almost 5,000 farmers and their families in economic turmoil.

Colombia has been suffering the effects of El Niño for months, causing intense drought in certain regions of the country. But the drying up of agricultural land and loss of crops is starting to show its effects in supermarkets, causing food price hikes of up to 80 percent in some cases, according to reports by local media Wednesday.

According to Colombia's Ministry of Agriculture, water shortages in recent months has affected most crops, particularly potatoes, tomatoes, maize, and sugarcane among others.

This has affected nearly 15,000 hectares of crops, leaving almost 5,000 farmers and their families in a difficult economic situation.

The losses have also started to affect the supply side, as consumers in the cities have started to see a decrease in supply and increase in prices on most local food products. The price increases have varied depending on the product, but in many cases they rose from 10 to 80 percent, according to figures from the database of the Central de Abasto Bogota (Corabastos).

Carlos Montaño, secretary of the Ministry of Agriculture, says that if the water shortages continue, prices will continue to rise.

The El Niño weather phenomenon has three features that have affected crops: fires, water shortages and frost. According to the Colombia's meteorological institute IDEAM, El Niño is expected to run until at least mid-April.

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