The legal adviser of Cochabamba's Agricultural Chamber (CAC), Rolando Morales, stated that Bolivian banana exports had decreased by 50% due to the low demand in the Argentine market, one of the main destinations for this product.
Morales said that, despite this situation, the sector sells its product at cost and, to date, can't even consider the possibility of making profits because its interest is to continue supplying the markets. "The companies in the tropics are trying to maintain employment, which is one of the biggest issues there," he said. Thus, the sector's intention is to maintain production and continue working with the 10,000 families that dedicate themselves to the production of bananas in the Cochabamba tropics.
A month ago, the sector reported that the price of a box of bananas had dropped by 70 cents in the foreign market. In addition, payments are delayed due to the provisions of the Argentine Government for the purchase of dollars, Morales stated.
Citrus and other products
"We are the main suppliers of citrus to the country. However, we are keeping more than 40% of the product and accumulating losses because we are unable to sell normally due to the quarantine. They are perishable products and we are forced to throw them to the garbage," he said. According to Morales, sales of pineapple and canned palm hearts for export also fell by 40%.
In addition, he noted, demand currently focuses on basic staple products, and there's even been a reduction in the demand for those products. "There was a strong drop in aggregate demand. A family that used to have 1,000 Bolivians, now only has as little as 400 Bolivians,” he said. That means they have less money to buy fruit, he added.