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Bolivia: Banana exports to Argentina are normalized

24.7.2020

The president of the Community Organization of Banana Producers of Trópico de Cochabamba (Oncobatrop) in Bolivia, Agustín Conde, said that the rigid measures decreed by the Argentine government to contain the spread of Covid-19 plummeted sales of Bolivian bananas to the neighboring country and reduced the dispatch of cargo from 60 to 30 trucks per week. “The de-escalation of restrictions is allowing us to regain dynamism in terms of sales. Now the average number of trucks leaving per week is over 60 units. 

Conde affirmed that the exchange rate of the Argentine currency also hurt the sector. "Customers ended up paying as little as USD 1.00 per box when the production cost was USD 2.50. We lost many millions of dollars because, in addition to the devaluation of the currency, a lot of bananas rotted in the production areas,” said Conde. 

According to the general manager of the Cochabamba Agricultural Chamber (CAC), Rolando Morales, little by little the 29 companies involved in banana exports from the Cochabamba tropics are resuming sales to the Argentine market. 

The negative, according to what he said, is that due to the monetary policies in force in the neighboring country - currency control - buyers take up to 30 days, after the cargo is delivered, to make the payment effective. 

Regarding the exported volume, Morales mentioned that the drop and the difference in exported volume is notable. In the first half of 2019, according to him, the sector exported 3,100,000 boxes of bananas to Argentina, and this year, in the same period, shipments barely reached 2 million boxes. 

According to the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE), from January to May, the country's banana sector exported 52,846,793 gross kilograms worth USD 14.6 million. In 2019, in the same period, it sold 61,681,699 gross kilograms for a value of USD 15,417,000. 

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