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How much has Pereira changed in the last 20 years?

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How much has Pereira changed in the last 20 years?

The sociologist and professor at the Technological University of Pereira, Óscar Arango Gaviria, has just delivered a new and revealing x-ray of the city, which is well worth analyzing and debating in depth.

Oscar Osorio Ospina

This work, titled “Pereira, years 2000-2020”, contains a total of 215 pages.
distributed in six chapters which deal with topics such as sociodemographic transformations, economic performance, public finances, the environment and public services, political power and elections and the contribution of the UTP to the development of the city. This is the third academic exercise of these proportions delivered by Óscar Arango Gaviria, who is a sociologist at the Santo Tomás University, specialist in ESAP–UTP Development Projects and professor at the UTP Faculty of Education. He had already done two similar jobs, the last of them in the 90s.

On this occasion and with official figures in hand, the author demonstrates, among other things, that the population of Pereira has aged, that the population pyramid has changed, that today the city is more urban and less rural, that there is a decline vertical in agricultural production driven by factors such as ranching and sub-urbanization, that Pereira is importing more than 80% of the food it consumes, that outsourcing of the labor market has grown, that its poverty rates have increased, that E-commerce and home delivery are here to stay… in short, an interesting x-ray. Let’s see, as a bird’s eye view, some figures:

Between 2005 and 2018 the population grew by only 39,000 people and not
reached the projection of 500,000 inhabitants contemplated in the POT. The female fertility rate went from 4.7 children in 1950 to 2.3 in 2018. In 2005, 6,318 children were born and in 2018 that figure dropped to 4,835. Life expectancy went from 73 years in 2005 to 75 years in 2018. While in 2005 in Pereira there were 31,000 people over 65 years of age,
that figure increased to 55,000 in 2028. In 2000 Pereira had an agricultural production of 195,000 tons, the
which fell to 72,000 in 2020. The area cultivated in coffee fell by more than half: hectares in production
They went from 8,129 to 2,934 and production fell from 665,000 arrobas to 385,000.

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With Óscar Arango Gaviria, author of this interesting document, we talked about his
vision about the Pereira of the present and the future.

How much has Pereira changed in these 20 years?

That is a question that deserves to subdivide the answer because there are several
components that are worked on in the book. One, are the transformations
demographic and social; another, the economic changes, the same as the changes and
the transformations in public finances; the transformations in matter
environmental, territorial planning and provision of public services; and in
political matter, a tracking and investigation of political behavior was carried out
electoral in Pereira in these 20 years.
On the demographic issue, are there more and more old people and fewer births?
Aging in the Pereira population was strengthened in these years at the expense
of the decrease in birth and fertility rates, but I also believe that it is
interesting to note that a progressive rural depopulation was confirmed, which is
Quite worrying in my opinion.

There is less and less labor in rural areas, there is no relief

Yes, but not only the generational replacement or splicing, but also the child population has migrated with their families and therefore the educational offers today have a very serious risk, there are schools that are already running out of students and they have have to close and that is fatal for the possibilities of social development in a neighborhood. We are used to our villages having educational centers and that rural education is a fundamental factor of development, but if the population that demands that education is not there, imagine what could happen to us in the immediate future.

Pereira has been a city of migrants. Has that phenomenon continued or is there
less migrations?

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The phenomenon of migration remains constant, what changes are the actors of these migrations and the destinations to which that population migrates or the countries from which the population arrives in Pereira. In these 20 years, I was able to find that Pereira continues to be one of the cities whose population now includes Venezuelan groups, but at the same time there is a new phenomenon in the city: forced displacement. In Pereira we have between 45,000 and 50,000 people who arrived as victims of forced displacement and armed conflict. And that is a particularity that is not always taken into account and attention is not drawn to it for the respective public policies that allow them to address the rights that the law gives them.

In general, has the city become poorer or have poverty levels decreased?

On average, poverty has been decreasing, but it is accentuated in some cases. As the book only reached the year 2020, I must warn that in that year all the socioeconomic statistics were dramatically altered due to the pandemic, it was an atypical year and one finds that, of course, the population with characteristics of poverty grew. absolute poverty, not only monetary poverty but absolute poverty, and the phenomenon of hunger grew. It would be necessary to know the new statistics in detail to know if we have already returned at least to the pre-pandemic era in terms of social development.

As for the countryside, does Pereira produce less and less food and less coffee?

That is a drama, it is a challenge and an inconsistency on the part of our leadership, since having all the possibilities in terms of natural resources in the rural sector we have a tremendous indicator of the import of 85% of the food consumed in Pereira. . At the same time, the hectares cultivated in coffee, bananas, avocados and other products, instead of increasing, decrease and that means that a territorial planning policy is impacting us in the rural sector.
Pereira became the largest coffee producer in Colombia, with nearly 17,000 coffee hectares and in 2020 it barely had 3,000 hectares. This means that here we have the phenomenon that we have called “land mapping” and we are faced with the challenge of putting rural development policy in competition with the rent of urban or semi-urban land and the beneficiaries are not exactly the peasant families but the producers. that develop the construction industry.

Today, from an economic point of view, what kind of city is it?

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Statistics indicate that the services sector, which includes commercial activities and those related to communications, transportation and the financial sector, is the most relevant. Unfortunately, the industrial and agricultural sectors, instead of increasing their participation in the economic structure of our gross domestic product, decreased in those two decades. Regarding commercial activity, in terms of exports and imports, the countries to which our products are shipped and those from which we buy have changed. For example, before the 2014 crisis, Venezuela became the country to which we sold the most and now its participation is practically insignificant.

Returning to the effects of the pandemic, during isolation the
electronic commerce and home delivery, these practices were
totally strengthened for the rest of life, they are here to stay and there is no longer
who returns to old business practices.

Looking at this whole panorama as a whole, what kind of city does it point to?
become Pereira?

I believe that Pereira, if a great agreement were made and it got rolling, could be a producing city, in principle a producer of agricultural goods and services and secondly, an industrial producer, but not only in the traditional industry, but in the industry that includes added value and the application of knowledge, innovation and technological development. This is a challenge that both political and business leadership, as well as academia and social organizations, must face.

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