Closed borders put Bolivia’s food exports to a halt

Oct, 28, 2022 Posted by Gabriel Malheiros

Week 202243

“To safeguard food security, exports of soybeans, sugar, soy oil, and beef are temporarily suspended,” declared Bolivia’s Minister of Productive Development, Néstor Huanca.

“The measure has been in effect since midnight, Thursday, October 27, and will continue until normal supply conditions are restored for the entire Bolivian population,” said the minister criticizing the strike that has been taking place in the state of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in favor a new Demographic Census in 2023.

The minister has blamed the organizations behind the strike for the stoppage of the productive sector and the increasing food security threat in Bolivia.

“They are responsible for the multimillion-dollar damage and losses endured by Santa Cruz and the national productive apparatus,” Huanca said at a press conference. “We are taking preventive measures,” he said in an interview with Unitel.

The Minister of Productive Development invited civic leaders and departmental authorities in Santa Cruz to “reflect” and initiate dialogue to resume food production on a regular and unrestricted basis.

At the border

The protest in the Santa Cruz de la Sierra department also affects the border region with the Brazilian city of Corumbá. The international crossing between the two countries has been closed since Saturday (22), and only foot traffic is allowed. There are also blocking points on stretches of the bioceanic road corridor up to Santa Cruz, 650 km from the border with the municipality of Corumba.

The import and export sector is one of the most affected. According to the president of Setlog Pantanal (Union of Cargo Transport and Logistics Companies), Lourival Vieira Costa Júnior, on average, a stopped truck results in a loss of R$5 thousand a day.

“This is true not only for trucks; the industry loses money, importers lose money, freighters, the dry port [all lose money]. Imagine having 300 trucks standing idly in Coroumba, the average number of vehicles that travel daily loaded with exports and imports. That would create a loss of 1.5 million dollars daily,” explained Lourival to the Diário Corumbaense news agency.

Regarding the damage to exports and imports, the head of Customs at the Federal Revenue Service of Corumbá, Erivelto Mousés Torrico Alencar, explains: “The daily value of goods leaving Brazil for Bolivia is R$ 41 million, while goods leaving Bolivia for Brazil is R$ 4 million. In other words, the border closure costs both countries 45 million reais,  a significant amount. Foreign trade movement has reached 2 billion in the year to date, with a loss of 235 million reais estimated in the last five days.”

Around 8,000 passenger vehicles pass through the border every day, and approximately 600 to 800 cargo vehicles cross the international line between Corumbá and Bolivia.

Source: Diário Online

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