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Bolivia's pineapples want to recover sales in the international market

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2019-02-01  Origin: laprensa.com.bo  Views: 4
Core Tip: In 2015, Bolivia fresh and canned pineapple exports amounted to $5 million dollars, but in 2018 it only achieved sales for $175 thousand dollars.
In 2015, Bolivia fresh and canned pineapple exports amounted to $5 million dollars, but in 2018 it only achieved sales for $175 thousand dollars. Despite the potential of the Cochabamba tropics, the fruit does not meet the export requirements, so Chile and Argentina banned their import in 2014. That year, authorities detected the cochineal pest in the fruit; a plague that they haven't been able to control to date.

The cochineal is a small white insect that measures two to six millimeters, so it easily goes unnoticed.

In 2014, the country exported 2.9 tons of fresh and canned pineapple worth 1.2 million dollars to Chile, Argentina, and Venezuela.

However, that market could not recover due to a lack of training and advice that producers demanded from the Government.

At that time, there were about seven pineapple canneries in Chapare. When the market closed, they devoted themselves to canning hearts of palm. Currently, there are only two pineapple packers left: Bolhispania, which exports a minimum quantity to Uruguay, and another state company, which allocates its products to the breastfeeding subsidy.

Pineapple exports have been falling since 2016. That year the country exported 1,571,052 kilos of pineapple for 588,942 dollars and in 2017 the figure dropped to 853,810 kilos for 345,858 dollars to Costa Rica, Argentina, Chile, Colombia, and Italy.

"Our fruit exports have lagged. The tropics produce a large quantity of pineapple, but its quality is not what the international market requires. The management we do is very empirical and artisanal," said the representative of Palm and Pineapple Producers of Cochabamba, Ditter Villca.

Now, the sector is demanding technical advice and an experimental pineapple pilot center in order to recover sales in the international market. "We need management of all the items because exports depends on that. There is a market that is still captive," said Villca.

The Bolivian pineapple was replaced abroad by the Indonesian fruit, which is of higher quality and at a lower price.

In 2018, the National Fund for Integral Development (Fonadin) projected doubling the value of pineapple exports from 2 to 4 million dollars.

They said they would work with in vitro plants and mother orchards to prevent diseases in the fruit and to have a greater control of the fruit's health and quality demanded by the markets of Argentina and Chile.

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