Roxana Villa reports for El Deber:
Chestnut crisis facing market saturation
Despite the $192 million dollars generated by the export of chestnut [bertholletia excelsa] in 2015, the northern Amazon region of Bolivia faces a crisis because of the supersaturation of the product in its main markets.
This situation is due to the importation of Brazilian almond with shell, to be exported with Bolivian seal.
The processing companies in Pando and Beni reported that in 2015 the volume of exports fell by 3% compared to 2014. From 26,500 to 25,600 tons, said the head of the Association of Producers of Rubber & Chestnut (Asprogoal), René Fong Roca.
He acknowledged that there is uncertainty among producers, since these data do not reflect the social reality that entails having closed markets.
He said that to date there is no destination for the chestnut harvest in 2016, when in other years, already they had more than 35% placed in pre-contracts.
“Our buyers have reported that they have enough product in stock,” he said.
Lack of regulations
The main request from the chestnut sector is to limit Brazilian imports until May, in addition to requesting the creation of a commission that regulates the activity of the traders, exporters and processors so that current situations like this one are not repeated to the detriment of an entire region.
According to Fong, the crisis of the Brazilian Real is emerging as a danger to the chestnut producers.
The appreciation of Oswaldo Barriga, general manager of the Chamber of Exporters of Santa Cruz (Cadex) was that a pending task for producers of the Amazon almond is its industrialization.
This would be achieved to add value to considerable volumes of the product and generate more jobs.
For Jimena Leon, chief statistician of the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade (IBCE), 2015 was not only a year of record figures for the export of almonds, but saw the opening of 30 new markets. United Kingdom, United States, Germany and the Netherlands still are at the top of the list of major buyers with more than 85% of the total volume.
Current ruling ochlocracy fails to protect our exports and of course neglects Bolivian jobs and products!