Volkswagen suspends hail cannons in Puebla

Under pressure from farmers, Volkswagen decided to partially suspend the use of hail cannons
Volkswagen suspends hail cannons in Puebla
During the month of May, farmers from Santa Rita Tlahuapan, Coronango, and Cuautlancingo began accusing the company of hurting their crops - Photo: Felix Marquez/AP
23/08/2018
13:03
Edgar Ávila / Corresponsal
Mexico City
-A +A

The German automaker Volkswagen’s branch in the Cuautlancingo municipality decided to partially suspend the use of automatic hail cannons after a large group of farmers protested the use of this technology, claiming that it had caused a drought and hurt their crops.

Through a press release, the car assembly plant explained that the measure had been agreed upon during a meeting between public servers from the state of Puebla and company representatives; however, the company clarified that it would continue to make use of the equipment manually whenever a hail forecast was at hand, specially at the yards where the assembled units are stored. The company had previously used the hail cannons in automatic mode each time that a cluster of rain clouds was observed, regardless of the potential precipitation’s nature.

Volkswagen also announced the installation of anti-hail mesh, which will help in the protection of assembled vehicles within the plant located in the proximity of the Mexico-Puebla highway.
 

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Puebla farmers accuse Volkswagen of hurting their crops with hail cannons

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“Volkswagen Mexico will immediately suspend the use of these devices on auto mode and will only activate them manually when meteorologic conditions point to an imminent hail precipitation at the yard where we store our vehicles,” the company stated.

During the month of May, farmers from Santa Rita Tlahuapan, Coronango, and Cuautlancingo began accusing the company of hurting their crops since the use of hail cannons caused 445 acres of fertile land to become affected by the lack of rain.

They mentioned that their harvests were their only income, and so they demanded that the directors put a stop to the use of cannons by protesting on the Mexico-Puebla highway, in front of the Volkswagen plant.

Given the alleged damage to their crops, agriculturists demanded a compensation of 73 million pesos to the German company; however, the manager of Volkswagen’s environmental management, Carlos Luna Ramírez, claimed that the use of hail cannons had not affected the weather in any way.

He added that the Ministry of Rural Development, Sustainability, and Land-Use Planning (SDRSOT) had given the proper permits to allow the use of the technology. He justified the use of hail cannons by saying that the company had spent 20 million dollars on vehicles that were damaged by hail storms in previous months.
 

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