A new project will be allowing banana growers in the tropics to stop shipping 95 percent of their production to Argentina.
Guzmán explained that the pilot test to export the product lasted from 9 December to 20 January. In that time, the fruit was kept in a cold chamber in the tropics at 14 degrees Celsius, simulating the time it would take to ship it.
"The production and export volume of bananas has been increasing every year, but the problem with which we stumble is that 95 percent goes to the Argentinian market, which makes us dependent on a single market and, if there are problems, it affects us directly," said Guzmán.
The head of the National Service of Agricultural Health and Food Safety (Senasag), Martín Zapata, described the test carried out to verify the ripening time and guarantee that the fruit will reach its destination in optimum conditions as "positive and favourable."
Guzmán explained that there has been contact with the company Yaki Yaki, which is characterised by importing fruits from all over the world. They asked for three containers as a test this year; afterwards there will be 10 carts every 15 days and, "if everything goes well, a full ship will be exported. A commission will visit Bolivia in April.
Nine companies participated in the test, each supplying 48 boxes of bananas; after 42 days, most managed to keep their product green. Zapata recommended banana producers to carry out a better field management and plan the harvest time to ensure a longer shelf life.
In 2016, banana producers marketed 6.5 million boxes; in 2015, this figure stood at 6.3 million boxes. For this year, the total volume is expected to increase to 6.9 million boxes. 95 percent is exported to Argentina and the remainder to Peru, Chile and Uruguay. Each year, 6,500 trucks depart, each carrying one thousand boxes that cost $6 each.