Bolivia: Banana shipments to Argentina drop from 40 trucks a week to 4

Fresh Plaza reports, photos from the inetrnet:

Banana production started in the Chapare as an alternative crop to the coca that goes to cocaine production, started with USAID/Bolivia in late 90’s

Producers of plantain, palmito, and pineapple from the Tropic of Cochabamba are worried due to the closing of markets and the fall in their production.

The general coordinator of the Agricultural Chamber of Cochabamba (CAC), Rolando Morales, said that the closure of markets in Argentina had affected palm and pineapple producers the most, while the decrease in demand for bananas, which fell from 40 trucks to 4 trucks per week, had affected banana producers.
According to producers the decrease is mainly due to the fall of the Argentine peso, which in recent months has become increasingly acute, affecting production in Cochabamba. [Bolivian Thoughts opinion: Alternative development crops, other than coca, gives a decent income to those farmers engaged in a produce that goes more than 90% to illicit activities. evo’s government fails to support them and it is because of recurrent failed government policies and actions that these remarkable and proud farmers are in peril.]
Morales said that, up to last year, they exported 6.4 million boxes of bananas a year, and that Argentina was their main market; currently, that currently has dropped to less than half.
“We are very worried about this situation and we believe the State must take a measure to safeguard us, otherwise the crisis that we are experiencing in the Tropic of Cochabamba will deepen more.”
The general manager of the Chamber of Exporters of Cochabamba (Cadexco), Víctor Hugo Villarroel, said exporters and the banana sector said there had been a fall in terms of supply, due to the season’s conditions.
He said that the cold season had led to a decrease in sales of bananas in the Argentine market. “The banana sector is assessing what the behavior of exports and prices will be in the future.”
Regarding pineapple exports, the representative of the producers of palmettos from the Tropics, who also produces this fruit, said that production for export was stopped because the economic crisis in Argentina was unsustainable and that now they were only supplying  the domestic market.
“The pineapple was exported in small quantities. The idea was to consolidate the foreign market,” he said.

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