Very few people know that peanuts spread to the world from the Chaco region, like potatoes from the Andes.
Ernesto Estremadoiro reports for El Dia:
The product is one of the most profitable in the area that also produces corn, milk and honey
Peanuts [mani]; ‘the cultivation of gold’ in Monteagudo
Figures. The region produces about 1,000 hectares. 300 tons are exported to countries in Europe such as Holland.
Abdón Reynales is 56 years old, for the last 14 is dedicated to the production of peanuts. He was born and raised in Monteagudo, town in the Chaco region, Chuquisaca department. Despite the fact that his childhood friends had left their homeland in search of better days, he says he will stay. “It’s easy to go and devote to anything or upload to a truck and earn money, but, how difficult it is and stay on your land and make industry”, recalls the man while invites us to discover his little processing of peanuts. The cultivation of this product displacing other crops such as corn, by the great demand of the internal and external market in addition to its good price.
The small factory has about 30 workers, built it 2 years ago thanks to the support of the Valleys Foundation [formerly supported by USAID and other internatinal donors], and it required an investment of $120,000. Daily processes and selects between four and five tons of peanuts, which are sold through an intermediary company to Europe. In a not too distant future, he’s waiting to expand his small factory and produce processed products – based on peanuts.
Future. Some have catalogued don Abdón as the King of the peanut in this region, he does not believe this nickname, spontaneously stated that it only works for his people. “Because this land is blessed, and our peanuts is the best in the country”, exclaims the producer.
A sample of the success of this activity is that in the area there are more than 500 producers who strive to produce this product. In addition, there are nearly 1,000 hectares.
The production of Bolivia is relatively small and is traditionally directed to the domestic market, and in some cases smuggling via Peru, there exist more than 12,000 producers who cultivate unknown varieties to other countries.
The internal market price is Bs450 the quintal, for the foreign market, this price climbs to Bs600 per quintal, if the product is sold outside the country.
In Bolivia it is cultivated in small and medium scale.
It is estimated that national peanut consumption is 1.3 kg per capita equivalent to 10,756 tons, consuming sheath as toasting 37% and 63% in grain processed by small industries and as culinary uses.
“There are good prices in the market and that has encouraged the majority of producers in the area to change their traditional crops, by peanut production, because there is unmet demand that we must meet,” clarifies Reynales. [apparently people had ‘traditional’ crops who were not originally from that region… like peanuts is, no wonder that land is ‘blessed’…]
National production. The Bolivian Institute of Foreign Commerce [IBCE] notes that 12 thousand peanut producers, are distributed in: valleys of Chuquisaca 3,000; Cochabamba 1,500; the Chaco region 3,000; and the rest in Santa Cruz (in the inter-Andean valleys 1,500 and lowlands 3,000).
The IBCE points out that in 2006, Bolivia exported $1,723,358, being its main destinations Peru, Paraguay, Colombia, Spain, United States, Chile, Argentina and Italy according to order of importance.
According to the Valleys Foundation, Bolivia is the fourth largest producer of peanut in South America and the value of its sales abroad has increased in the last decade.
The Foundation points out that Chuquisaca is the main exporter of peanuts in Bolivia. It is estimated that in 2009, more than 160 tons were exported to the European Union. However, according to this entity, the production conditions to reduce costs and achieve higher profits for farmers still are precarious; failing to incorporate technology in the planting, harvest and postharvest.
A bad year. Although the peanut business blooms, in 2012, will close with a bad score for don Abdón Reynales.
In 2011 the man, managed to sell 200 tons of peanuts, through an intermediary company to Holland. The good quality of his production led their foreign buyers, to ask the micro-entrepreneur 300 tons by 2012.
However, the bad weather prevented him to meet that commitment. “This year production barely reached the 200 hectares while we increase the hectares planted,” he said.
Nevertheless, the micro-entrepreneur is optimistic with regard to the upcoming production.
In fact, he is already enlisting preparations for the next harvest; he has begun to clean its 300 hectares he has, which according to him, they may report a yield of 500 tons.
“We’ve not won, nor we have lost,” qualifies.
He says that he has the support of his family, four of his five sons are involved in the activity. Over the medium-term plans to expand his factory and be able to produce finished products. “We expected that within three years we will make an investment of 400,000 to expand the factory,” concludes Reynales.
Germany raises import of national peanut
Market. In year 2011, the German company Rapunzel NATURKOST AG, requested 15 tons of peanuts. By 2012 this same company increased its order to 54 tons for this management, with a price of $151,200.00
Shipping. Precisely on October 31, the first container of certified organic peanut of the agricultural campaign 2012 was dispatched, bound for Germany. Eighteen tons of peanut peeling were sent to Rapunzel Naturkost Ag. This is one of the leading distributors of organic foods in the European area.
Start. The first experience of export of native peanuts of Bolivia was made in 2009, with the shipment of six containers. In 2010, was dispatched 25 container (500 tons) of five native varieties of Bolivia: Overo, Colorado, Wanu de Oveja, Bayo Grande and Sara Maní, which will be marketed in niche markets in the European Union, seven of which are under preparation for release.
Other areas. The Chaco is the origin area of the mani, here still can observe a diversity of wild peanuts and domesticated peanuts, produced by peasant and Guarani communities with technological limitations.
I believe we need more people like Abdon Reynales and for that, I welcome him and Bolivian peanuts to The Hall of Bolivian Fame!!