An analysis of Bolivia’s National Agricultural Census 2013

 
The data presented in the Agricultural Census 2013 reveal that in eight out of the nine departments, with Santa Cruz being the exception, the majority of agricultural production units (APUs) still use local organic seeds; conversely, improved seeds –which are produced through more specialized methods, like controlled pollination– and/or certified seeds are only used by a small proportion of APUs. Both improved seeds and certified seeds –the latter having gained relative importance in Santa Cruz and Tarija– are generally used by APUs strongly connected to the markets, and, consequently, more...
According to the data presented by the Agricultural Census 2013, Bolivia’s agricultural production is mostly rainfed, i.e. it depends on rain and not on irrigation. Actually, only 32,9% (286.536) of the APUs registered in the census employ some kind of irrigation for their crops. The combined area of APUs that do irrigate their crops –268.844 ha– barely accounts for 7,1% of total cultivated land area, which amounted to a little more than 3,7 million hectares in the 2012/2013 agricultural year (See Chart 1). These numbers explain the low productivity of our crops, as well as the lack of year-...
Our research on this topic [1] shows that private property in land and private usufruct in land have spread their presence in the countryside, even reaching peasant communities or indigenous territories (TCO/TIOC [2]) holding either long-standing or recent collective property titles. The results of the latest national agricultural census reveal that out of the 34,6 million hectares held by all agricultural production units (APUs) combined, 84,1% (29,1 million ha.) have land ownership titles or are about to obtain them. The remaining 15,9% (5,4 million ha.) is distributed between different...
One of the most relevant characteristics of the National Agricultural Census 2013 is the inclusion of data on salaried work in agriculture, a phenomenon of great importance in all the regions (plateaus, valleys, plains) of the country. In order to have a fuller grasp of it, and, consequently, have a better understanding of the changes that have affected Bolivia’s rural society from 1953 –the year of the Agrarian Reform– until our days, the Census 2013 analyzes the data by type of agricultural production unit (APU): 1) APUs that belong to communities [1]; and 2) APUs that do not belong to...
We have already explained how the agrarian structure of Bolivia has not really changed since the 1980’s; and how, according to the Agricultural Census 2013[1], a small nucleus of APUs is still in control –under ownership or usufruct– of large extensions of land, unlike the majority of APUs, which only hold a small portion of these lands. This distribution is also prevalent among the APUs in charge of women. Out of 215.192 APUs run by women, 65% (140.036) are less than five hectares in size, thus exceeding the 56,8% registered by their male counterparts in the same category. Additionally,...
The Agricultural Census 2013 registered a total of 861.608 agricultural production units (APUs), which –under ownership or usufruct– hold a total of 34.654.983,7 hectares of land. Most of these APUs are located in the plateaus (49,6%) and the valleys (33,3%); however, they only represent 15,7% and 11,9% (respectively) of total number of hectares of land. On the contrary, the plains hold only 17,1% (140.878) of total number of APUs, but concentrate 72,4% of total land area. The departments with the lowest average area per APU are Cochabamba (6,87 ha.) and Potosí (7,43 ha.). Both of these...
The data presented in the Agricultural Census 2013 published by INE (National Institute of Statistics of Bolivia) indicate that the agrarian structure of Bolivia has not substantially changed in the last thirty years. Out of the total number of agricultural production units (APUs), 58,9% (507.243) are in the range of 0,01 to 4,99 hectares in size. These 507.243 APUs –under ownership or usufruct– cover an area of approximately 738.000 hectares, which barely represents 2,1% of total number of hectares of all APUs combined. The stratum in charge of exploiting these lands –of which the average...
One of the strongest arguments to demonstrate the current “feminization of agriculture” in Latin America and the Caribbean is the increased percentage of agricultural production units that are in charge of women. This phenomenon is caused by: increased male emigration for longer periods of time; increased male participation in non-agricultural economic activities; or, an increased number of men who desert their families. [1] According to FAO, 8 to 30% of agricultural production units (APUs) in Latin America and the Caribbean are in charge of women. If we add the National Agricultural Census...
Over the last years, it has been said that Latin America has been going through a process of “feminization of agriculture”, a phenomenon caused by an increased participation of women in agricultural activities, whether as non-salaried family workers or independent producers; or, as salaried workers. This tendency is, most likely, not solely based on the increasing number of women taking part in the agricultural sector, but also on the decreasing number of men working in said sector[1]. In the case of Bolivia, data of the National Agricultural Census 2013 reveal a totally different situation,...
Although of great importance, the National Agricultural Census 2013 did not address the situation of permanent and temporary work among salaried agricultural workers; what it did instead, was to address the situation with a focus on the members of agricultural production units: head producers, spouses, offspring and other economically dependent relatives.   These data, nevertheless, confirm what several studies have been pointing out for a long time: the growing importance of temporary and seasonal work in Bolivia’s agricultural production landscape, a phenomenon deeply rooted in the...

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