NOVA MEDIA PUBLISHING INC.

Bolivia: Truck Drivers Prefer Not to Work and Banana Exports Fall By 60%

3.4.2020

Due to the presence of the Covid-19, the restrictions in Argentina and the lack of return cargo, Bolivian carriers prefer not to work and protect their health resulting in banana exports falling by more than 60% reported the producers’ representative Agustín Conde.

Before the pandemic, more than 80 loaded trucks left the tropics daily, but lately only 20 to 30 trucks with bananas have been exported.

Drivers reported that is getting more difficult for them to drive in Argentina because there are no places to buy food, the pumps no longer allow the use of toilets and there is no return cargo to Bolivia.

To this is added the rigorous control in Argentina, and also that in Bolivia there are some sporadic blockades in Yapacaní and Bermejo.

Conde explained that the damage for the producing sector is in the millions and they are very concerned. Added to this is that the banks in the region are still not working, so the farmers must go to Santa Cruz to make withdrawals or deposits.

Conde calculates an economic damage of US$3 million.

Under these circumstances, the sector estimates that they will send less than 4 million boxes of bananas to Argentina this year. In 2018, 6 million boxes were shipped to that country and in 2019 the figure fell to 5.5 million boxes.

The banana growers agree with all the measures that have been implemented to prevent the spread of the disease.

They consider that controlling the disease in the country is the key to continuing to export the fruit.

Conde explained that, if Argentina closes its borders to these exports, the economic loss will be catastrophic for them. In Chapare there are 7,800 hectares of bananas.

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