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  HOME | Bolivia

Bolivia Opts for Gas-Based Fertilizer in Wine Region

LA PAZ – Bolivia is betting on a fertilizer made from natural gas – of which the Andean nation has massive reserves – to boost agricultural output in the wine country of the southern region Tarija.

Bolivian President Evo Morales traveled to Tarija city on Friday to inaugurate a urea sales depot installed by state oil and gas company YPFB.

With a total arable surface of 109,847 hectares (271,437 acres), Tarija is projected to consume up to 11,000 metric tons of urea a year – three to six times current levels – and YPFB expects to provide the fertilizer to growers of grapes, sugarcane, potatoes and corn, among other crops.

YPFB tests in Tarija have shown an increase in yields of up to 74 percent for grapes, 79 percent for sugarcane and 119 percent for potato crops.

“We will look into how to improve the urea production,” Morales said, noting that Bolivia used to be an importer of fertilizer, whereas it is now an exporter. “I am sure it will be of much help.”

The Bolivian government closed a deal in January to sell as many as 335,000 tons a year of urea to Brazil for more than $100 million, and is looking to forge agreements with Argentina and Paraguay for another 120,000 tons.

The Bulo Bulo petrochemical plant, which opened last year, has a production capacity of 2,100 metric tons of urea and 1,200 of ammonia daily and at least 80 percent of the output is intended for exportation.

The Tarija region is famous for its production of wine and singanis – a type of brandy made from white grapes – and its high-altitude vineyards are in the same as those of Argentina and Chile.

 

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