Bolivia's potato harvest down 15% because of the drought

Bolivia's potato production in the first months of the year decreased by 15% over 2016, according to data provided by the Minister of Rural Development and Lands, Cesar Cocarico.

The drought that devastated the traditional production areas of the highlands and the inter-Andean valleys caused this decrease in production in which produces only obtained 60,000 tons of potatoes.

The Government is working on a strategy to move potato cultivation to non-traditional areas, such as Tarija and Santa Cruz, where there are more favorable weather conditions.

Soberanía Alimentaria, a decentralized entity of the Ministry of Rural Development and Land, invested more than 76 million Bolivians last year to guarantee the production of potatoes in the country. This crop is very important in Bolivia. According to INE data, Bolivians consume 95 kilos of potatoes per capita a year.

The consequences of the drought
Between April and October of last year, Bolivia imported rice, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and onions due to the effects of the drought on national production.

According to data from the Ministry of Rural Development and Land, last year there was a deficit of 26,162 tons of potatoes, as the supply amounted to 995,453 tons and the demand to 1,021,615 tons.

Corn and rice crops were the most affected by the lack of water with a deficit of 109,980 and 13,252 tons, respectively, according to official reports.

Part of the decrease was compensated with the stock that was in Emapa, but it wasn't enough to cover the domestic market's demand.

This decrease in food production forced authorities to authorize the importation of corn and other products, such as potatoes and tomatoes.



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