The Bolivian horticultural product marketers' decision to cease importing agricultural products to prioritize their national production has generated concern among Peruvian farmers, mainly among potato and onion producers.
This decision is part of the Family Agriculture Policy measures that the Ministry of Rural Development and Land of Bolivia implemented last year, that seek to promote plans so that producers improve their yields.
In a statement published yesterday, the Ministry of Rural Development of Bolivia thanked the importers of their country. "This decision they have taken will benefit our producers," they stated, adding that they will seize the products that are smuggled into the country, such as potatoes, onions, and carrots.
As reported by the president of the onion producers of Majes, in Arequipa, Sebastian Zambrano, onion shipments have been paralyzed for almost a month. Peru sent nearly 120,000 kilos of onions a week to Bolivia, which now requires a new market.
It should be noted that Bolivia was the fourth destination for Peruvian onions, after Colombia and Ecuador. In addition, the overproduction of onion in the last campaign has impacted the price paid to producers, which has decreased from 0.60 cents per kilo to 0.10 cents per kilo.
This information was confirmed by the director of the Regional Agricultural Directorate of Arequipa, Jaime Huerta. Huerta said that they were working with the Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation to program the number of hectares that will be sown in the following campaign.
The potato sector is also facing difficult moments. Its price fell by 50% in a month. According to Victoriano Fernandez, the president of the Peruvian Potato Association (Appapa), this was caused by Bolivia's decision to cease imports.
The Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism (Mincetur) stated that Bolivia's decision could constitute a breach of their commitments within the framework of the Andean Community. “Mincetur is collecting information and evaluating the matter, which could constitute a breach of Bolivian commitments within the framework of the Andean community, and is working with the Bolivian authorities to address the issue,” they stated. ■