Bolivia: Soybeans and Derivates Exports Grow by 64%


Oct 13, 2022 | Agricultural Markets News

Reading time: 2 minute

If the Soybean complex in Bolivia is analysed considering production, the geographical location of crops is almost exclusively in the Eastern region of the Santa Cruz jurisdiction, with a share of the planted area close to 99% of the total. In the department of Santa Cruz, the Bolivian Soybean production is mainly concentrated in the provinces of Ñuflo de Chavez, Chiquitos, Guarayos, Obispo Santistevan, and Sara.

Although the planting of this crop extends to the provinces of the North in Beni and La Paz; in the center of Cochabamba, and to the South in Chuquisaca and Tarija, they represent a very low share of total production. In the 2020/2021 summer campaign, 1,055,000 hectares were sown, and 1,029,500 hectares were harvested, with an average yield of 2.43 tons per hectare and a grain production of 2,568,351 tons.

At present, there are ten Soybean processing plants in Bolivia, with a crushing capacity of 12,810 t/24 hs and 4.2 Mt on an annual basis. As for Soybean crushing forecast for crop 2020/2021, the USDA estimates 2.6 Mt, which indicates a 62% installed capacity utilization. It is essential to highlight that this is a “potential theoretical capacity” since some of these plants perform alternative sunflower crushing tasks, mainly using its potential for processing other crops.

Bolivian Soybean Exports Success


In the first five months of 2022, foreign exchange earnings from the export of Soybeans and its derivatives grew by 64%. From January to May, this grain was sold for US$873.7 million compared to US$532.4 million obtained in the same period in 2021. Soy and its derivatives represent the third most exported product in the country, preceded by non-traditional products, such as minerals and hydrocarbons.

According to data processed by the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade based on information from the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Soybean exports also raised by 46%. This year, from January to May, 1,453.2 tons of the oilseed were exported compared to 998.7 tons in 2021.

The President of the Agricultural Chamber of the East (CAO), Óscar Mario Justiniano, explained that international Soybean prices are beneficial, which translated into higher foreign exchange earnings for the country from the export of seeds and their derivatives.

A similar opinion was expressed by the President of the Agricultural Chamber of Small Producers of the East (CAPPO), Isidoro Barrientos, who indicated that international prices favored the sector since this phenomenon did not occur 12 years ago. “After 12 years, we have seen a higher price. It cost more or less US$500 a ton, and for that reason, there were more exports,” said a Bolivian farmer.

The General manager of the Bolivian Institute of Foreign Trade, Gary Rodríguez, pointed out that last year Soybeans and their derivatives worth US$1,365 million were exported and that if there had been events with improved Soybean seeds, they would have had a higher yield of production.

According to Barrientos, the producers opted for Soybeans instead of planting products such as rice, corn, and other grains. “The rice farmers, not all of them, instead of planting rice, planted Soybeans, and others who were going to plant corn preferred to plant Soybeans, and in some parts of the cattle ranch, they preferred to sell cattle and plant Soybeans,” he indicated.

He added that due to the droughts, the yield of Soybeans per hectare on the land of small producers fell from 1,000 to 700 kilos. Soy production by small producers represents 45% of what is produced. If our crops yielded between two and three tons per hectare, it would be a lottery for us.

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