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24 Feb 2021

Mongabay LATAM

Bolivia: Rising exports in the livestock sector coincide with forest depletion due to severe deforestation

"Livestock in Bolivia: exports expand, forests shrink" – 21st February 2021

...In 2020, when the pandemic paralysed the world, Bolivia exported more than 14 million kilos of beef to China, Peru, Ecuador and the Republic of Congo. The profits from the sale of this huge shipment of meat benefited a few cattle ranchers who received an income of more than 60 million dollars...This take-off in exports also coincided with two seasons of forest fires that devastated more than 10 million hectares in Bolivia. This emergency was associated with a series of decrees that promoted, precisely, the expansion of agricultural and livestock frontiers in the regions of Santa Cruz and Beni - the most affected by the fires - and controlled burnings... Of all the authorised ranches (41 in Santa Cruz and 1 in Beni), 62% belong to Bolivian entrepreneurs and 38% to foreign capital, mainly from Brazil and to a lesser extent Argentina. The low cost of land in Bolivia, compared to neighbouring countries, attracts this investment... But who is really behind the boom in Bolivian beef exports is China? In 2020, demand from the Asian country caused Bolivia to quadruple its annual export volumes: from 5,000 to 14,000 tonnes...