Bolivia Smuggles Argentinian Wheat


Nov 17, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minute

Bolivia is a country that has a high consumption of Wheat, especially in the form of bread. To supply the internal demand, a production of 700 thousand tons is required, but only over 30 percent (up to 300 thousand tons) of that figure is produced, and the remaining percentage is imported. In Bolivia, one of the primary uses given to Wheat is in the form of flour for making bread, a fundamental product in the national diet. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), each inhabitant eats 43 kilos of bread annually.

Depending on climatic conditions, Bolivia produces between 220 and 250 thousand tons of Wheat per year, which only cover 30 percent of the country’s internal demand. The rest is imported in grain or flour, mainly from Argentina. The product also enters Bolivia through contraband. Currently, Santa Cruz produces 70 percent of the national Wheat production. The municipalities that produce Wheat are Okinawa, Pailón, San Julián, and Cuatro Cañadas.

Bolivian Association of Oilseed and Wheat Producers (Anapo) described positive the determination of the national Government to buy more than 200,000 tons (t) of Wheat directly from the producers this year through the Food Production Support Company (Emapa).

“We want to highlight that the possibility of purchase by Emapa of some 200,000 tons of Wheat grain has been confirmed because that generates market certainty for the producer that their production will be acquired, either by Emapa or the local milling industry,” said the President of Anapo.

In the next agricultural campaign, Emapa also intends to collect at least 200,000 tons of Wheat between the grain harvested by it and that purchased from small and medium producers. This intention generates greater market certainty for Wheat producers their production.

The national Government announced that the reference base price for a ton of Wheat for the 2022 winter agricultural campaign would be US$390, which will help promote the production and cultivation of grain in the country. Anapo asked Emapa to pay the producer the import opportunity price, around 440 dollars.

“Concerning the price, we take it as a minimum purchase basis for Emapa that should be improved before the harvest collection, depending on the market conditions that exist at that time,” said Jaime Hernández, the Anapo manager. The Food Production Support Company guarantees this year 211,500 tons of Wheat and 100,000 tons of corn for the food security of Bolivian families, the Minister of Productive Development and Plural Economy, Néstor Huanca, reported.

Bolivian Drought-Affected Wheat Campaign

The General manager of Anapo reports that for this winter campaign they planted 118,000 hectares of the 130,000 initially planned, which were reduced due to the effect of the drought at the time of planting. During the development of the crop, there was also a prolonged drought that affected yield levels and security with food sovereignty for the country.

To get an idea, in 2020, there was an average yield of 1.7 tons per hectare. In 2021, the average yield was 1.44 tons per hectare, and in this campaign, it is estimated that the yield will be between 1 and 1.2 tons per hectare due to adverse weather conditions and drought.
“For this reason, we producers insist that it is necessary to advance in the approval processes for new events in biotechnology because we believe that it is a technological tool that will help mitigate producers’ productive and economic losses,” Hernández explained.

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