The floods have badly affected banana exports; shipments to Argentina have been suspended for two weeks and the economic damage amounts to 10 million bolivianos.
"Unfortunately, the rain has wreaked havoc. There are quality standards that we must meet to make exports and these climatic conditions have definitely not allowed us to meet them," said the president of the Agricultural Chamber of Cochabamba (CAC), Jasmany Medrano.
He said that Argentina was demanding the product, but that they couldn't export the product at the moment. This aggravates the banana sector's situation, as they decreased this product's export in 2018 due to inflation in the neighboring country, which led to a decrease in sales.
In 2017, the country exported 95 million kilos worth 24 million dollars to Argentina, but up until June 2018 that figure decreased by 20 percent, which means that by that date they had only exported 75 million kilos worth 20 million bolivianos to that country, according to data from the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE).
In addition, payments for farmers also came late. "We were recovering export markets. We were recovering from September 2018. Now, we have very strong commitments. We wanted to recover the Argentinian market, but the rains have really put us back," he said.
Pineapple and palmito crops have also been affected. Now, the CAC is managing aid from the national government and the governorates to recover the crops, which will take between four and six months. In addition, Medrano has asked that the financial entities reschedule the producers' debts.
Next week, the sector will meet with the Ministry of Rural Development and Lands. The CAC hopes to reactivate exports in February, when the rains stop, but this will depend on the government's help, Medrano stated.
The sector requires 20 million bolivianos to recover the damaged crops, but the Governor told the municipalities to spend their resources. "We want them to disburse the 3 million bolivianos that the Government has budgeted to attend emergencies. The municipalities only have 300 thousand bolivianos, which is not enough," he said.
The president of the Agricultural Chamber of Cochabamba (CAC), Jasmany Medrano, said that there were 10 thousand producers directly affected and a similar number of indirect ones, such as packers, transporters, and others.
The municipalities that declared themselves in an emergency due to the floods in the Cochabamba tropics are Ivirgarzama, Puerto Villarroel, Chimore, and Villa Tunari.