Bolivia’s Minister of Rural Development and Land Cesar Cocarico has announced that Bolivia produces more than 95 percent of its own food for internal consumption.
Speaking in an interview with Bolivia TV, the minister declared, “Last year, despite the drought we reached more than 95 percent of production and importation only accounted for 4 percent of total food.”
“A country that provides over 95 percent of its food is a country that has security and food sovereignty,” he added. “We are a self-sufficient country.”
While a drought hurt agriculture in many regions in Bolivia in 2016, the country was able to maintain a stable level of production thanks to special government programs, he said.
According to Cocarico, the Bolivian government has invested over US$40 million in different programs over the past 11 years.
These programs have boosted local food consumption. Potato production jumped from 80,000 tons a year to more than a million tons between 2006 and 2016. Tomato production also soared, increasing from 50,000 tons a year to 80,000 tons over the same decade.
When Bolivia’s President Evo Morales took office in 2006 one of his major early policies was to strengthen land rights for campesinos and develop sustainable and local food production.
By introducing new agrarian laws to ensure campesinos were granted legal ownership to reactivate unused lands and stimulate agriculture.