SAN JULIAN, Bolivia – Ranches with hundreds of cattle where breeders work to improve the genetic make-up of their herds and are producing animals that weigh more than a ton, are evidence of the growth of the Bolivian livestock sector, which is aiming to break into the beef export market in the near future.
The El Paso ranch, located in the town of San Julian in eastern Santa Cruz province, is one example of the development of a strict breeding regimen that is putting out top-quality beef cattle.
In a statement to the media during a visit sponsored by the Bolivian Foreign Trade Institute (IBCE), veterinarian Oscar Machado discussed El Paso’s breeding methods.
“We’re using (semen) from Bolivia’s best bulls and we’re also using the best ones from Brazil,” he said.
One of the products of the genetic improvements being made in the region is “Bronco,” a Big Ben bull weighing 1,245 kg (2,729 lb), who was awarded the title of grand champion at a regional fair thanks to his large size and because he possesses the ideal traits of his breed.
Juan Palma, the young man in charge of caring for the cattle at El Paso, emphasized that bulls like Bronco have made possible the business of selling their semen with the aim of reproducing their genetic traits in their offspring.
“This year, we’ve produced – from January until now – 2,000 doses (of semen) for insemination that we’re selling on the national level,” Palma said.
He said that each dose sells for between $7 and $10 to ranchers in Bolivia and neighboring Brazil.
Machado emphasized that with these procedures “the quality of the meat is improving” and it is possible to think about exporting large quantities of it since the supply exceeds domestic demand.
IBCE manager Gary Rodriguez mentioned that in recent years, a reported 3,000 tons of beef have been exported to countries in the region and at the end of the year local ranchers will be able to export 15,000-20,000 tons, mainly to China.
So, this month “the arrival of the technical mission” from the Asian giant is expected and it is expected that the health protocols for starting to export will be met, Rodriguez said.
IBCE’s projection is that by 2025 Bolivia will be exporting 117,000 tons of beef annually.