BOLIVIA: Blockades batter food sector - poultry worst hit
Highway blockades throughout Bolivia have taken a heavy toll on the food and agriculture sectors in recent weeks. Poultry farms in the Cochabamba region ran out of food and ultimately their animals cannibalised each other. The surviving birds are considered to be contaminated and cannot be sold in food markets. During the first ten days of blockades, Bolivia's agricultural sector suffered losses in the range of US$40m, including US$12m to the poultry sector alone. As of the first of October, losses were still accumulating at a rate of roughly US$2m per day. About 36,000 families produce 48 million chickens per year, and about 930,000 per week are sold in Bolivia.Farmers and food processing companies have been unable to move their goods to market, leading to food shortages in supermarkets. In addition, the normal shipments of 38 truckloads (800,000 tonnes) per week of chicken feed into the Cochabamba have ceased. This represents lost sales of corn, soy beans and sorghum of US$120,000 per week. The situation deteriorated through the latter half of September and the president's inability to negotiate a settlement with blockaders has undermined his credibility.EDITORIAL SOURCE: Contains information from the article "Canibalismo: los pollos se devoran entre ellos", Los Tiempos, Bolivia (27 September, 2000)
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