Bolivia is dangerously threatening its food security, here an Editorial from El Diario:
Lesser production and more imports of wheat
From about six years ago, government agencies were insisting on the issues of food security and sovereignty and offering, at the same time, large increases in agricultural production, price cuts, suspension of imports, modernization of agriculture, the agricultural problem solution, industrialization of agricultural products and many other advantages. These offerings were more optimistic because the economy was strengthened with large revenues from the rising prices of international raw materials.
However, after six years of those sweet words, the Bolivian people finds that the opposite is happening and that agricultural production has fallen, food prices rise in an uncontrolled manner, the agrarian question has not been resolved, nor has the offer to improve production and reduce imports been met. In a word, we are faced with a harsh reality: food security and sovereignty have disappeared.
That aspect is checked by observing that we already do not eat Bolivian wheat bread, but that, in addition, our daily bread is made with Argentina flour which, moreover, has replaced American flour, that before arrived as a gift to the State, which was sold so that some public works with these economic resources could be made.
Indeed, the needs of the Bolivian people (formed by 10 million people) in what refers to wheat needed for bread, in the past six years, from 600 thousand tonnes to 720 thousand tons a year, requirement that is not treated with the domestic production of that grain that barely reaches the 120 thousand tons per year. This means that the country recorded a deficit of 600,000 ton wheat production, quantity that is more difficult to achieve with the time passing.
Because of the need of wheat to feed the population, that grain must be imported, so we already do not eat bread of national wheat but imported. But neither the problem boils down to those terms, as the Government is forced to import more wheat, which has become an economic problem that worsens every day, because the imported wheat continues to rise in price.
Indeed, the price of wheat has risen this year from 180 to 360 dollars the ton (with the possibility of reaching $400), i.e. that the price has tripled, which means that imports of wheat that makes the Government this year will reach more than 200 million dollars.
Faced with this painful reality, only the conclusion that can be reached is that national agriculture has gone downhill and that we will only have to supply home markets with food of foreign origin, at the expense of ‘hard’ currencies that come from gas and mining exports. Moreover, the agrarian national issue was not resolved and, on the other hand it has been aggravated by a legislation which only encourages the cultivation of the coca leaf. In that sense, increasingly the agrarian problem is hottest and the solutions that proposes the government aggravates the situation, because don’t go over from being lyrical offerings.